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Planning industrial development - the Norfolk Estate, Sheffield, 1800-1914

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The managers of landed estates were among the first practitioners of town planning in Britain. With no statutory framework, they used the power of the landlord to control development through leases. There have been numerous studies of the planning of residential urban estates. Research into industrial development is rarer, perhaps because housing was the more common land-use, and is more susceptible to statistical analysis, and because of the links between housing conditions and social history. The land agents of the Dukes of Norfolk planned the supply of land to manufacturers in Sheffield, and used leases to manipulate the character of their estate. The Dukes' monopoly of coal supplies was subject to attrition and their property faced topographical disadvantages, so the market undoubtedly established the context in which planning took place. Nonetheless, the agents had to encourage acquisitions, anticipate the infrastructure needs of tenants and the scale of development, and attempt to maximize financial returns. The way this was done varied in several respects from the manner in which residential building was controlled. Although the methods and results were utilitarian rather than elegant, they illuminate a planned approach to urban development which pre-dated most forms of state intervention.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 1997

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