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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day


New Towns

By W Hamish Fraser

The Bruce Report 1945 By the end of the 1930s there was a widespread recognition that something dramatic was required to deal with the scarcity of housing of reasonable quality in the city. The Clyde Valley Regional Plan of 1946 proposed the dispersal of 550,000 of the city's population, half to peripheral areas of the city and the other half to new towns and communities outside the city boundary. Four new town sites were identified at East Kilbride and Cumbernauld in Lanarkshire, and Bishopton and Houston in Renfrewshire. The town council, far from enthusiastic about losing population and income, was determined to solve its housing problems within its own boundaries, even if that meant a high density of population. The Bruce Plan, produced by the city planning department, and which involved high-rise building, was presented as an alternative strategy.

Throughout the 1950s two programmes operated side by side with Glasgow undertaking extensive house building while the new towns began to develop. By the mid-1950s it was clear that the city could not meet the housing needs of all its people and there was reluctant acceptance of Cumbernauld as an overspill area. Overspill arrangements were gradually made also with East Kilbride, Glenrothes in Fife, and Livingston in Lothian. Not all new towns were enthusiastic at being associated with Glasgow and rentals were often beyond the means of those who were being displaced from slum areas.

In 1971 yet another new town, Stonehouse in Lanarkshire, was designated for Glasgow overspill, but already there were signs of a change in policy with the renewal of older property and a determined attempt to regenerate areas within the city. East Kilbride and Cumbernauld, in particular, have proved to be very successful new towns and undoubtedly offered a transformation in the living conditions of tens of thousands of the population.

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