Planners at Stevenage, England’s first new town, granted outline permission for the comprehensive redevelopment of the entire town centre this week.
The scheme, designed by BDP on behalf of Stevenage Regeneration, aims to re-establish the town centre as a major retail, business and leisure area.
Proposals include improvements to the town centre’s public realm and green spaces. There will be new shops, tree-lined boulevards and 120 new homes with gardens.
The town square will be retained as an important focal point and will become a gateway to a new quarter, said BDP.
As Britain’s first post-war new town, Stevenage flourished in the fifties and sixties before declining in more recent years.
Council leader Sharon Taylor said: "The committee’s decision to grant planning permission represents a key milestone in our efforts to secure private investment."
Last year England’s trailblazing new town celebrated the 60th anniversary of the its first homes. It was designated a new town on 11 November 1946.
That year’s New Towns Act allowed the government to designate areas to develop to relieve overcrowding in London and provide homes for wartime servicemen and their families.
The houses in the Hertfordshire town were completed in August 1951 and Taylor said the original masterplan was "very visionary planning for its time". It included six neighbourhoods with their own community facilities such as surgeries and schools.