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Scottish Tory leader calls for a generation of new towns in Scotland


Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called for ‘a generation of new towns’ to solve a housing shortage north of the border

Davidson urged a return to the ‘ambition of our post-war generation’ with the creation of a series of new urban developments across Scotland.

She said her party wanted to see 100,000 homes built during this Parliament, with half of them affordable, warning that lack of housing was ‘one of the biggest challenges of our time’.

In a speech delivered last Friday (1 September) she set out a series of measures for boosting housing supply.

‘It is time to seize the moment – and look at a series of new generation new towns,’ said Davidson.

‘We are already seeing some beautiful new villages and towns springing up in Scotland which have put high quality design, affordable homes and community values at the heart of development. That’s the way to go.’

She also called for creation of a national Housing and Infrastructure Agency to deliver the roads and public services around which new housing could be built.

‘What better way to signal strong government backing for this new agency, than by putting a combined housing and infrastructure minister in the Scottish cabinet?’ she asked.

Davidson called for planning permission to be assumed for certain building projects in particular areas across Scotland.

‘Currently, the planning system has it all the way wrong,’ she said. ‘All construction is prohibited and you cannot build unless and until you have permission to do so.

‘What about freeing up land across Scotland where you flip that on its head? Where, within certain parameters about building regulations plus the size and design of a property, you can go ahead as you wish?’

Existing new towns in Scotland

  • Cumbernauld (designated 9 December 1955, extended 19 March 1973)
  • East Kilbride (designated 6 May 1947)
  • Glenrothes (designated 30 June 1948)
  • Irvine (designated 9 November 1966)
  • Livingston (designated 16 April 1962)
  • Stonehouse (designated 17 July 1973, unrealised) 

Readers' comments (2)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    If you gave them all Enterprise Zone status (tax incentives) and had a good strategic plan for infrastructure, housing and employment, then Greenock, Falkirk, Dunbar, Perth, Elgin or Inverness, Dumfries, Fort William (if they ever sort out that road) could all gain critical mass. You do not need New Towns.

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  • It always seems to me there is a delicate balancing act between urban regeneration and the desire to create new towns and neighbourhoods.

    Last time I was in Glasgow, I remember seeing a church by Alexander “Greek” Thompson, set in a total wilderness of urban decay. I think this was probably Caledonia Road Free Church. I believe The Gorbals has now been regenerated but the church is still derelict?

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