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Reconstruction planning and the small town in early post-war Britain

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The majority of studies of British post-war reconstruction planning have focused on the better-known plans for larger towns and cities, yet many much smaller places were also represented in the tremendous outpouring of plans in the period c. 1951-2. This paper discusses the context of the smaller town replanning, using four very different unbombed towns and plans as exemplars (Bewdley, Durham, Todmorden and Warwick). Uninformative and incomplete records still preclude explicit discussion of why consultants were chosen in each of these cases and, indeed, small towns seem unusually prone to engage expensive consultants. Key common themes in the plans included road provision and housing conditions; indeed, the concerns of these small-town plans are little different from those of larger, and badly-bombed, places - perhaps because consultants were used. However, the removal of planning powers from all of these authorities under the 1947 Act meant that implementation of expensive plans was delayed and substantially amended: perhaps the bandwagon of replanning was not worth the expense?

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Property, Construction and Planning, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK 2: Global Urban Research Unit, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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