Mr Alford talks about his opinion of the concept of New Towns.

“they provided a valuable opportunity to do things on a big scale and to re-house people and to a certain extent take people out of London and that was accomplished perhaps too much but it was accomplished at the time”

Stevenage Museum

Transcript:

Interviewer: What is your opinion of the concept of new towns in general?

Mr Alford: Taking the situation as it was just after the war I think that they are very good idea certainly there was the will to build them which is what you need to start off with otherwise it won’t get off the ground. And there is the necessary government legislation, which might not be available to launch something like that. But as such a thing they provided a valuable opportunity to do things on a big scale and to re-house people and to a certain extent take people out of London and that was accomplished perhaps too much but it was accomplished at the time. It achieved the opportunity for people to come from London and maybe try to live in the country see if they did like living out because many of them didn’t some went back. Most of them I think stayed and as such there is from that and also attempt to make a homogenous entity of employment and recreation and housing to see whether this would work. In a small six thousand acre site as it were. I think it has worked in many ways it will never achieve the feeling which one gets in an old town like Hitchin or Cambridge or Bath in that they have been slowly established over hundreds and hundreds of years and have slowly emerged and a lot of people have lived there for very many years. In Stevenage the majority of the population are new to it, it was all built in about 30 years. So it will take an enormous time for a character to emerge I think. I am not sure now whether the thing is I think to start off you need the will and I don’t think there is the will now to build new towns and so therefore whether it would be successful this is change of marketing technician, shopping going into thinks like hypermarkets way out from town, which I think will predispose it against forming tight new towns really.

Alford 1987

This page was added on 16/12/2015.

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