Victoria Jolley (Manchester School of Architecture)
The Rural Super City: Central Lancashire New Town
From 1950 rural Lancashire, in England, became the focus of a major renewal scheme to accommodate population overspill from nearby cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Over a period of fifteen years the initial proposal for a series of self-contained new towns progressed into an ambitious scheme for a single polycentric ‘supercity’ for 500,000 people. Known as Central Lancashire New Town and designed by RMJM, this part-realised development was the last and largest New Town designated under the 1965 Act. Its theoretical urban pattern, which followed new and proposed infrastructure, was unique. Based on a ladder system this straddled rich agricultural land and declining post-industrial townscapes to unify and expand existing settlements with the aim of generating prosperity on a sub-regional scale. CLNT was not completed but its planning phases can be traced across Lancashire’s urban and rural landscapes by built communications networks and city-scale public and civic buildings. Referencing three different new town typologies this paper will outline the project’s evolution and identify the impact that designing for the motorcar and future change had on the provision of green space. This research has been undertaken using previously ‘closed’ archival resources and architectural journal and local press articles.