The building of new towns is not the only way in which the problem of population pressure in London has been combatted. The London County Council has also built 11 0ut-County11 housing estates, tried the experiment of very high density building in the central area, and made use of the more recent Expanded Towns policy. It is even investigating the possibilities of building its own new town at Hook in Hampshire. 1 The London County Council has constructed thirteen outcounty estates, which have provided accommodation for 150, 000 z people, and employment for about 10,000.

 

The Out-County estates were intended to be a little more than just vast housing 108 estates. Some land was set aside for industry, schools, recreation centres, parks and public houses. Development of these latter facilities was slow at first but has now been completed. These satellites were all built in, or at the edge of the green belt, during the first post war decade. The principle of their siting, although deplored, was regarded as an inevitable stop-gap measure to alleviate the housing situation at that time. The Out-County estates have not been a great success. They are not towns, and few have managed to withstand the pull of ot her centres and build up a life of their own. None of them have sufficient emp1oyment for their inhabitants because the County Council did not feel justified in providing large industrial areas whilst the government were pursuing a policy of sending decentralized industries to development areas.

 

Further, tenants are selected on the basis of their housing need from County lists, without reference to whether they can find a job locally; and also since vacancies are filled automatically from the County, the children of established tenants have to move elsewhere to live when they grow up. It is therefore not surprising that there has been a rapid turnover of population, largely resulting from the disatisfaction of the long journey to work. The London County Council is also trying the experiment of high density residential building. A notable example will be the redevelopment of the Barbican and Bunhill fields area, for mixed office, commercial, cultural and residential use. 1 It is also revising its development plan to make additional areas of high density building in the central area (up to ZOO persans per acre.) 2 The building of high density residential areas is not such a simple remedy as it seems however. In a study undertaken by the Town and Country Planning Association it was shown that the average cost of building 1000 flats at 40 flats an acre was tL 9 million, whereas in a new town 1000 dwellings could be built for 2 1. 0 million 3 • Further, it has been found that the usa ble outdoor living space per persan for blacks of flats spaced to ensure daylighting is equivalent to the total garden space per persan for hig

 

density terrace housing. High-rise high density building is therefore a dubious prospect. The third alternative to new towns is the development of Expanded Towns. This is effected under the terms of the Town Development Act 1952 which was designed to encourage and give llO financial aid to small towns willing to become receptors for overspill population. Under the terms of the Act development agreements must be made between the exporting and reception areas, subject to the approval of the Ministry, and after consultations with all the authorities involved. The agreem.ents will set out the nature and extent of the proposed development, whether the exporting or importing authority will do the necessary building, and the proportion of financial aid to be gi ven by the exporter. The agreement is then submitted to the Minister, and if it is approved grants are made by the Exchequer to finance initial development costs such as sewerage and water schemes

 

. It is expected that with the exception of running expenses and debt charges, the costs of aU additional services can be met by the added income obtained from the expansion. It was clearly laid down in the Act that, regardless of who does the development, houses and any other as sets shall be transferred to the local council immediately. This is to ensure that the expanded town does not function merely as a housing estate for a distant city. During the first eight year s of the operation of the Act, the London County Council has made agreements with twelve receiving authorities, the locations of which can be seen on the accompanying map, and is negotiating with three others. 1 The number of houses to be provided by the Council vary from 6, 000 in Swindon to 1, 000 in Huntingdon, and come to a grand total of 29, 300 or accommodation for 157,000 persons. The housing areas are laid out following neighbourhood principles and are equipped with the usual facilities. New industrial sites are 112 provided, and the expanded towns are attracting sufficient industry to maintain their programmes. Town development of this nature has many advantages. It brings to small towns an influx of prosperity, diversity of employment, and enlargement of physical and social facilities. It provides an outlet for overspill population into an already securely developed community, often with historie associations. Compared with the new towns, the difference is largely one of legislation and degree. Basildon, at the time of its designation had 25, 000 people and Hemel Hempstead 21, 000; Haver hill and Thetford, two expanding towns, had only 5, 000 population at the time their agreements were made. In view of the extraordinary difficulties in finding sites, and the initial costs of financing new towns as such, it seems probable that in the long run, expanded towns are the key to a successful decentralization policy. However, it appears that unless the importing local authority is strong and vigorous, the machinery at present is not good enough to ensure full development under the Town Development Act, and it seems that some compromise .solution embodying some aspects of the New Towns Act, with the Town Development Act would provide a better answer.