Thursday, 23rd January 2020
Central Library, Milton Keynes MK9 3HL


Milton Keynes was designated on 23 January 1967 as the last of the third wave new towns under the 1946 New Towns Act.  As part of Milton Keynes ‘Birthday Week’ activities, Milton Keynes Council in partnership with MK Archives and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) will again be hosting our annual UK New Towns Sharing Day, this time at our Grade II Listed Milton Keynes Central Library.

The event was first held on 23rd January 2017 as part of our 50th birthday celebrations and this will be the third time the event will have been held.  The event gives ourselves and other invited new towns the opportunity to learn about some of the projects, plans and developments that have been happening in 2019 or which are planned for 2020 within New Towns and how heritage and culture are driving growth, regeneration, change or ‘new town reinvention’ in our respective places.  There will also be New Town exhibitions and stalls in the Central Library Foyer for delegates and the general public. 

This year, we are partnered by the Town and County Planning Association (TCPA) who will be presenting their latest work around New Towns and running a workshop on identifying the potential for a network of UK New Towns.

Contributions from Basildon, Harlow, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City are also on the programme and look at a general theme of how each town, no longer new, is looking to reinvent itself off the back of a significant milestone in their relatively short history.  Just as Milton Keynes celebrated its 50th in 2017, Harlow was celebrating its 70th, Basildon celebrating its 70th last year and this year Welwyn Garden City reaches its centenary. 

This series of celebrations prompted the birth of the New Town Heritage Research Network (NTHRN) in 2017, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by the University of Oxford Brookes and Coventry University and the International New Town Institute (INTI), based in Rotterdam.  A series of events then took place to research and explore the value of this heritage, a potentially shared DNA, and how that heritage learning and knowledge could have an application in that reinvention and the future growth and developments that continues to impact our new towns.  The NTHRN continues and further events are planned in 2020 with INTI who runs a similar International New Towns Day each year and manages a wider European network of new towns, the INTImi.

Milton Keynes Council has also continued to develop a number of projects with its partners, most noticeably a New Town Heritage Register or local list for new town heritage and also the New Town Heritage Explorers project to create public interest, discussion learning and involvement around the Register.

We will be launching the Creative Programme the same evening as the UK New Towns Sharing Day and delegates will be most welcome to stay on after 4pm to attend the launch.  Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery Players, Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, the New Town Heritage Explorers project is piloting a new public-led way of capturing, recognising, profiling and celebrating our New Town heritage character.  For more information on this project please visit our website:








3rd UK New Towns Sharing Day event summary (PDF file)


0915       Arrival and Refreshments

0945       Introduction to the Day – Shane Downer, Milton Keynes Council (Moderator for the day)


1000       Basildon: Basildon at 70: New Town DNA? (PDF file)

Paul Brace, Basildon Borough Council

1020       Harlow: Conserving our USP (urban sculpture park) (PDF file)
Alina Congreve, Harlow Sculpture Trust

1040       Stevenage: Stevenage Reimagined: Stevenage’s Cultural Strategy one year on (PDF file)

                Jo Ward, Curator, Stevenage museum

1100       Break

1120       Welwyn Garden City: Centenary 2020 (PDF file)

Dr Malcolm Day, Welwyn Garden City Foundation

1145       Q + A for Speakers

1200       Lunch, Networking and Exhibition stalls, Central Library Foyer


1300       Welcome back to delegates from Cllr Sam Crooks, Mayor of Milton Keynes

1305       Milton Keynes: New Town = New Voices: New Vision (PDF file)

                Pamela Roberts, Project Manager, New Town Heritage Explorers

1325       Workshop: New Towns Heritage Explorers: Creating a New Town Community Toolkit (PDF file)

Louise Thomas, Historic Town and Village Forum (Project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre)

1415       A New Future for New Towns: Presentation and workshop

Katy Lock, Director of Communities (FJ Osborn Fellow), Town and Country Planning Association

1515       Panel – Questions, Discussion and Feedback from New Towns Delegates

1600       END OF DAY: Networking

                For those able to stay on afterwards, the launch of the New Town Heritage Explorers Exhibition will take place upstairs in the Discover Milton Keynes Space.


Town and Country Planning Association

Katy Lock MRTPI Director, Communities & Project Delivery (FJ Osborn Fellow) Town and Country Planning Association Katy is a planner and campaigner for social justice and the built environment. She has over 20 years’ experience in planning and environmental practice with particular expertise in policy and thought leadership in relation to new communities, housing, green infrastructure, urban design and sustainability. As Director of Communities and Osborn Fellow Katy leads on the TCPA’s campaigns and promotion of garden city principles in policy, legislation, education and the arts. This involves working at all levels of government and with a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations and individuals, at all stages of planning, design and delivery. Katy is also responsible for overseeing Project Delivery at the TCPA. Katy leads the TCPA’s ongoing research on transferable lessons from the post-war new towns, and work supporting new town authorities through the New Towns Network and All-Party Parliamentary Group. She is currently writing a book on the ‘Rise, Fall and Rebirth’ of New Towns with Hugh Ellis (RIBA Publishing, Forthcoming – March 2020).  In 2017 Katy co-authored ‘The Art of Building a Garden City: Designing New Communities for the C21st’ with Hugh Ellis and Kate Henderson. Katy is a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI) and has a background in planning, urban design and sustainability. Before joining the TCPA in 2011, she worked for several years in the private sector as an environmental planning consultant. Katy is currently a trustee for Planning Aid for London, and a Design Review panellist for Design South East.


Jo Ward , Curator, Stevenage Museum Stevenage Borough Council; Jo is curator at Stevenage Museum and headed the team that redisplayed the new town gallery back in 2006 as well as speaking and writing about local history to groups and on local radio and TV.   She also organised speakers for the 70th anniversary of the new town, has experience of putting in funding bids to both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts Council and is working on three bids to celebrate new town history and sculpture to work more with young people to explore their town’s role in helping to solve post-war housing crisis.  


Paul Brace, Assistant Director of Public Spaces Basildon Borough Council Paul is a new town product of the 60’s, who took every opportunity to enjoy growing up in a vibrant cultural New Town with performing art and music. An actor, musician and artist, Paul started with a career in retail whilst trying to ‘make it’ in the music industry, quickly moving to theatre management in Hayes Middlesex, assisting in the creation of the very successful Beck Youth Theatre there.   Paul returned home to Basildon to start a career in Local Government in 1989, having a varied roles and delivered interesting projects and community engagement to keep his creative ‘DNA’ alive.   During this period Paul was project managing the development of sporting facilities to the reopening of the Towngate Theatre in 2006, following 10 years of closure and producing a pantomime that has been voted best independent pantomime in the country.   He was also developing policy and strategy, running music festivals and revolutionising play areas across the borough.   In his current role, Paul has responsibility for Arts, Culture, Leisure, Parks, Open Space, Environmental Heath, Waste, Community Development, Community Halls, Building Control and Events including the 2019 Basildon 70th anniversary programme and legacy.  


Dr Alina Congreve, Trustee Harlow Arts Trust Alina has been a trustee of the Harlow Art Trust for two years and was invited to join the Trust following organizing the 70th anniversary conference to celebrate the founding of Harlow New Town.   Alina has worked as a lecturer and principal lecturer, specializing in planning and housing at a number of universities including LSE, UCL, Reading and Hertfordshire. At Reading and Hertfordshire her postgraduate teaching had a strong focus on new towns.  She has also supervised a number of postgraduate dissertations and group projects on different aspects of new towns including Bracknell, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, and Milton Keynes.   Alina has a research interest in new towns and has worked with colleagues on the AHRC New Towns network project, hosted by Oxford Brookes and Coventry Universities.  She holds a PhD in geography and planning from King’s College London and an MSc in Conservation from University College London.    

Welwyn Garden City

Dr Malcolm Day, Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation Malcolm is a member of the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation Delivery Group since inception mainly dealing with the infrastructure legacy.    A retired civil servant then primarily concerned with Government involvement in overseas infrastructure projects, Malcolm was seconded to the Foreign Office for five years to coordinate major projects happening around the Handover in Hong Kong in 1997.  Since retirement he has been heavily involved with local issues, principally concerned with planning.

Milton Keynes

Pamela Roberts, Project Manager New Town Heritage Explorers Pamela Roberts, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow, is an award-winning creative producer and historian.    With over twenty years’ in television production, Pamela has worked as a producer, director and consultant for most of the UK’s arts, media, heritage and cultural organisations, including the BBC, Channel 4, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the British Film Institute.   Pamela has received numerous awards for her work, including recognition of outstanding contribution to media by Her Majesty the Queen in 2004. Pamela is passionate about the social history and cultural diversity of New Towns. 
Louise Thomas, Executive Director Historic Towns and Villages Forum (HTVF) Louise is an urban designer and architect by training. She runs an independent urban design consultancy (TDRC), and has held senior roles in planning and design companies in the UK.  She is also executive director of the Historic Towns & Villages Forum (HTVF), based in Kellogg College, Oxford. Her passion for urban design, development processes and the public’s involvement in shaping places means that she enjoys running educational, consultancy and research projects for a variety of public and private clients and a wide range of audiences. Louise is the co-editor of the Urban Design Group’s quarterlyjournal Urban Design, and a Trustee of the Francis Tibbalds Trust and Oxford Civic Society. She also teaches post-graduate urban design and urban planning Master’s programmes at the University of Westminster, London.  


Milton Keynes Council’s Culture Team 

The Culture team, as part of the wider Placemaking team supports the growth and development of the city’s cultural offer, taking a strategic lead on the delivery of the Creative and Cultural Strategy 2018 – 2027. They are responsible for managing the city’s Culture Grants portfolio and the cultural infrastructure capital investment programme. The team also support and deliver an ongoing public art commissioning programme.

The Culture team has the mandate to develop and deliver strategic cultural projects, programmes and commissions, often working in partnership and collaboration.  These initiatives are developed to ensure that culture makes a real difference to the quality of lives of residents and visitors and contributes to the ongoing success of Milton Keynes.

The Culture team work in close collaboration with the city’s cultural organisations and venues to ensure a combined delivery and offer for everyone.

We thank our colleagues and partners for today’s event:

MK Archives, MK City Discovery Centre, MK Libraries, Town and Country Planning Association, Basildon Borough Council, Harlow Art Trust, Stevenage Borough Council, Telford & Wrekin Council, Welwyn Garden Centenary Foundation, Historic Towns and Villages Forum and the New Town Heritage Explorers Team.