London overspill

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London overspill is the term given to the communities created - largely consisting of publicly provided housing (council houses and new towns) - as a result of the Government policy of moving residents out of Greater London, England into other towns around the South East, East Anglia and beyond.

Policy development[edit]

The policy was instigated in the 1930s but started in earnest after the Second World War, as a reaction to the housing shortages caused by enemy bombing and large amounts of substandard housing in the capital. This policy existed until the late 1970s reinforced by a widespread dislike of ribbon development. Started by the London County Council the task was completed by its successor, the Greater London Council. In the 1960s the Location of Offices Bureau dispersed office workers away from the capital. In 1960, the Greater London Plan proposed that over one million Londoners should be relocated from Inner London. The great majority of overspill families were relocated either to expanded towns or to new towns within south east England. As a short term expedient, viewed as regrettable, to meet an urgent need, "quasi-satellites" were created around the edge of Greater London, or close by, at South Oxhey, Debden and Harold Hill.[1]

List of new and expanded towns[edit]

In 1973, the following towns were listed, in Hansard,[2] as London overspill:

Town Economic planning region Status Anticipated numbers (1973-1979)
Andover South East Expanded town
Ashford South East Expanded town
Aylesbury South East Expanded town
Banbury South East Expanded town
Basildon South East New Town 16,000
Basingstoke South East Expanded town
Bletchley South East Expanded town
Bracknell South East New Town 12,000
Braintree South East Expanded town
Crawley South East New Town 8,000
Farnborough South East Expanded town
Harlow South East New Town 5,000
Hastings South East Expanded town
Hatfield South East New Town 1,000
Hemel Hempstead South East New Town 4,000
Houghton Regis South East Expanded town
Letchworth South East Expanded town
Milton Keynes South East New Town 69,000
Sandy South East Expanded town
Stevenage South East New Town 4,000
Welwyn Garden City South East New Town 2,000
Witham South East Expanded town
Bury St Edmunds East Anglia Expanded town
Haverhill East Anglia Expanded town
Huntingdon East Anglia Expanded town
King's Lynn East Anglia Expanded town
Long Melford East Anglia Expanded town
Mildenhall East Anglia Expanded town
Peterborough East Anglia New Town 47,000
St Neots East Anglia Expanded town
Sudbury East Anglia Expanded town
Thetford East Anglia Expanded town
Bodmin South West Expanded town
Plymouth South West Expanded town
Swindon South West Expanded town
Corby East Midlands New Town 8,000
Grantham East Midlands Expanded town
Northampton East Midlands New Town 55,000
Wellingborough East Midlands Expanded town
Gainsborough East Midlands Expanded town
Burnley North West Expanded town

Consequences[edit]

In some places, where the incomers did not easily blend in with the local residents, the term London overspill scum could be, and was, used in a derogatory way. The situation of new overspill communities was portrayed in the 1960s soap opera, The Newcomers, partly filmed in Haverhill. The series showed problems of estrangement from a familiar environment and integration with an established community through the experiences of one family. An additional issue was that the easy link to London, the train service, was withdrawn as part of the concurrent "Beeching Axe", which added to the sense of isolation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cullingworth, J. B. (1960). Housing Needs and Planning Policy. Routledge. pp. 83–84. 
  2. ^ "London Overspill (vol 850 cc445-6)". Hansard. 16 February 1973. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 

See also[edit]