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Welwyn Garden City


Report of the Welwyn Garden City Development Corporation

Author: Louis de Soissons, O.B.E., A.R.A., F.R.I.B.A.

First published: 1949 by the Welwyn Garden City Development Corporation

Format: Paperback 13" by 8" with 42 pages

This document is a copy of the report on the outline plan for the town as submitted to the government in October 1949. The report was prepared by Louis de Soissons, who had been WGC town architect for many years. Included in the report are five plans and several tables. There are 4 aerial photographs in the report. I think there was an outer cover to the report which has been lost from my copy. The image above is of the title page.

Tucked into my copy but not attached is a large blueprint 30" by 25". The title of this blueprint is "Existing and Proposed Development". This blueprint has the same title as plan 3 in the report itself, but may have nothing to do with the report. I have reproduced it right at the bottom.

The foreword (written by R. G. Gosling, Chairman of the Development Corporation) explains that the Welwyn Garden City Development Corporation was appointed in June 1948 by town planning minister Lewis Silkin. It was charged with the duty of developing Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield under the New Towns Act of 1946 and the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947.

[For some background, see also my notes on the Welwyn Garden Citizen's Handbook 1948 (via my WGC book index - link at the top of this page) in which an article headed "Mr Silkin Takes Over" gives a chronology of events between 24th September 1946 and 26th March 1948.]











  1. The Problem
2. The Designated Area
3. Planning Survey
4. The Main Proposals
  5. General
6. N.E. Area
7. N.W. Area
8. S.W. Area
9. S.E. Area
  10. Existing Development and Densities
11. Proposed Development and Densities
12. Suggestions for Tenancy Groupings
13. Immediate Building Programme
  14. Types of Centre
15. The Town Centre
16. The Unit centres
17. Populations Served by Unit Centres
  18. Shops
19. Cinemas
20. Licensed Premises and Hotels
21. Community Buildings, Clubs, etc
22. Places of Worship
  23. Health Centres and Day Nurseries
24. Hospitals and Maternity Homes
25. Schools
26. Schools Siting
27. Libraries
28. Cemeteries
  29. Existing Industrial Area
30. Existing Industries
31. Industrial Density
32. Proposed Extension of Main Industrial Area
33. Secondary Industrial Area
34. Reserve Industrial Area
35. Ultimate Employed Population
36. Proposed Surface Workings
  37. Road Traffic
38. Bridges
39. Bus Routes
40. Railways
  41. Water Supply
42. Gas and Electricity
43. Drainage
44. Refuse Disposal
45. Telephone Distribution
46. District Heating
  47. General
48. Children's Play Spaces, Tennis Clubs, etc
49. Playing Fields
50. Woodlands, Parks, Green Ways, etc
51. Allotments
52. Agricultural Land
  53. Method of Calculation
54. Schedule of Areas of Proposed Land Use
55. Overall Density

  No. 1 Diagrammatic Plan of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield
Aerial Photographs of Welwyn Garden City
No. 2 Existing Land Use
No. 3 Existing and Proposed Development
No. 4 Suggestions for Tenancy Groupings
No. 5 Traffic Chart



1. Diagrammatic Plan of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield New Towns

(click image to enlarge)




On the 14th June 1948 the Minister of Town and Country Planning (The Right Hon. Lewis Silkin, P.C., M.P.) appointed a Corporation for the development of Welwyn Garden City under the New Towns Act 1946, and the names of the persons comprising the Corporation are set out hereafter. At the same time the same persons were charged with the duty of developing Hatfield as a New Town.

The Corporation has recognized that the task before them is in tune with the great changes alive in the country today as represented in the New Towns Act 1946 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. The substance of these Acts concerned the rivers and trees, the loveliness of England; concerned the homes of the people, the way in which they lived and did their work; concerned the future of England and its children.

Our part is the development of twin communities beyond London's Green Belt and our work must have some relationship to the problem of the dispersal of London.

To-day we publish simultaneously the Master Plans for both towns as submitted to the Minister for approval together with the Reports of the Planners upon each and a Prefatory Memorandum upon our ideas of the relationship of the towns to each other.

The Minister made it clear to us that it was his intention that the towns should be planned as separate towns, each with its own individual identity, but that their planning should be related to each other. This was the first occasion, certainly in this country, and we believe in the world, that one body has been entrusted by a Government with the planning and developing of twin towns. The Minister, in entrusting us with the task, and we in submitting the Master Plans and accompanying reports are therefore creating a precedent.

When we assumed office, Welwyn Garden City was a developing community inspired by the ideals of the Garden City pioneers. Fuller development was necessary and imperative, and the town, we are satisfied, now needs additional social amenities which it will be our duty to provide. Nevertheless, Welwyn Garden City enjoys the admiration of the world because of its conception and the admirable form in which the practical work has been carried out.

We considered ourselves fortunate in finding that Louis de Soissons, A.R.A., F.R.I.B.A., who had acted as planner to the Garden City Company, was available and, with the approval of the Minister, he was appointed Consultant Town Planner by the Corporation for the preparation of the development plan of the Garden City.

Hatfield, with its centuries of history and recent development side by side, presented a totally different problem and we thought it wise to require another approach to its planning. With the Minister's approval, therefore, we appointed the Hon. Lionel Brett, M.A., A.R.I.B.A., to prepare the Master Plan for that town.

Although the preparation of the two Master Plans was entrusted to the individuals named, the other Chief Officers of the Corporation deal with both towns. Throughout there has been the closest co-operation between the Planners and the Corporation officials, Mr J. E. McComb, D.F.C., General Manager; Mr J. Skinner, A.M.I.C.E., Chief Engineer; and Mr H. T. Tigwell, the Comptroller.

Corporation members have naturally taken a lively and sustained interest in the preparation of the Master Plans and out of their experience in a variety of fields, industrial, commercial, professional and social, give full approval to the Plans and Reports now submitted. Both Mr de Soissons and Mr Brett have only included those matters which have been discussed with the Corporation.

And here, I feel, I should place on record an expression of the gratitude we all feel towards the Vice-Chairman, Mr R. L. Reiss, for the most valuable and creative help he has been in these formative months. His lifetime's work in the field of town planning has, at all times, been of rich service to us in our work.

Thus, though the plans submitted are primarily the work of the planners, they are the result of team-work. The Corporation, in giving approval to them, have taken fully into account the suggestions and criticisms of the County and Local Authorities and of the public who have had full opportunity of seeing the draft plans at exhibitions and of meeting the Corporation members at public meetings.

Amongst the numerous helpful suggestions we received from the public, two were dominant and supported by substantial argument. They were (a) that we should avoid any great encroachment into Sherrards Wood and Brockswood in the area of Welwyn Garden City as had previously been proposed, and (b) that we should not countenance any overlapping into the area suggested as the Green Belt between the two towns.

Whilst on the grounds of economics and planning good arguments could be adduced for rejecting these suggestions, there have been produced, we believe, sound and prudent solutions to the problems created by these demands which we feel are acceptable to the majority of those persons and organizations we have met.

In all the discussions which have taken place the most cordial relationships have been maintained with the local authorities and it is right that I should express our thanks to the County, Urban and Rural District Councils concerned, and especially to their officers for their never-failing assistance.

Here, then, is the framework of the New Town of Welwyn Garden City. Within it a town may grow providing a full life for its inhabitants. Much thought and work remain to be given to the development, great opportunities will exist for lively ideas and conceptions, and we hope to encourage and employ them.

This is our contribution to the first chapter of a great and vital work.


October 1949





R. L. REISS, M.A., Hon.A.M.T.P.I.

G. R. LOWE, F.C.A.

General Manager
J. E. McCOMB, D.F.C.
Chief Engineer






1. You designated an area of 4,231 acres for Welwyn Garden City and of 2,340 acres for Hatfield giving targets for the ultimate population of the two towns at 36,500 and 25,000 respectively.

2. The first major question which the Corporation had to decide concerned the extent and location of the green belt to separate the two towns. This is illustrated on the diagrammatic plan reproduced as the frontispiece which indicates the urban areas of the two towns and their green belts. On the west side of the main railway, the green belt extends from a line within the Welwyn designated area from which the ground falls southward to the Lee Valley and includes the portion of the Hatfield area to the north of Jack Olding's factory. The only building which may possibly be erected on the western section of the green belt is a major hospital and the suggested site for this has been under discussion with the Chairman of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, who asked that this site be provisionally reserved until that Board was in a position to indicate whether they thought it suitable for their purpose. Such a hospital, if erected, would serve not merely Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, but a substantial area mainly to the north and south of the two towns.

To the east, the green belt is only to a limited extent within the Welwyn designated area, but includes the whole of the portion of the Hatfield designated area lying between its northern boundary and the Hatfield-Hertford Road. There is in this eastern green belt the small hamlet of Mill Green, which it is proposed should remain and not be further developed; the existing sewage disposal works of the Hatfield Rural District Council and, temporarily, the Mill Green Building Trades camp.

3. The second major question before the Corporation arose out of the existence of Welham Green, just outside the southern boundary of the Hatfield area. As you had not included this village in the designated area, the Corporation accepted the recommendation of Mr Brett that there should be a green belt separating the Hatfield urban area from Welham Green.

4. The limitations to the urban area of Hatfield consequent on these two decisions rendered it clearly impracticable to provide, within the designated area, any green belt to the east or west. The Corporation has assumed that as no portion of Hatfield Park was included in the designated area, you envisaged this park as remaining an open space. The Corporation emphasize that this is essential and point out that successive Marquesses of Salisbury have generously given the residents of Hatfield access to Hatfield Park. There is no reason to think that this will not be the case in the future and it should be emphasized that this facility will be essential when the town grows to 25,000.


5. In one respect the two existing towns are similar and differ from the existing development in the other new towns designated by you in the Greater London area. In both towns industrial development is far ahead of housing. Large numbers of workers come to work in the Welwyn industrial area from outside the town - in many cases from a considerable distance. This is even more true at Hatfield, owing to the fact that the de Havilland works alone employ 7,000 people.

6. Though the two towns are similar in this respect they are widely dissimilar in most others.

7. Welwyn Garden City is entirely a creation of the last thirty years and has been planned from the start, and has a wide variety of industries. In contrast, Hatfield consists of a closely knit old town to the east of the railway and a larger development to the west, which is the unplanned creation of the last fifty years.

Whilst the industries of Welwyn are entirely within the designated area, the majority of those employed in manufacture at Hatfield are employed just outside it. At Welwyn Garden City with the exception of a few houses on the Great North Road at Stanborough, there is no continuous urban development adjacent to the designated area, but at Hatfield existing development of a substantial kind exists on the west side of the Barnet By-Pass and must of necessity be considered to form part of the ultimate urban area.

8. The other differences are too numerous to set out in detail. For example, the shopping facilities at Welwyn Garden City are highly centralized, whereas retail trade is carried out at Hatfield in a large number of shops, mostly quite small. Again, as Mr Brett points out in his report, Hatfield is an island surrounded by main traffic routes, whereas Welwyn has been developed in such a way that the Great North Road by-passes it and there is along most of its boundary a substantial green belt.

9. From the foregoing it is obvious that the planning problems at Hatfield are far more difficult of a satisfactory solution than at Welwyn Garden City, the more so owing to the restricted area within which urban development is possible.


10. Mr de Soissons had been responsible for the planning of Welwyn Garden City since 1920 and there was already, when he was appointed by the Corporation, a complete survey of the existing town and most of the undeveloped area. This has enabled him to proceed with the completion of the Master Plan in greater detail than was possible at Hatfield. Mr Brett could only start on the active preparation of his plan after a physical survey had been made, and he had available less material regarding existing conditions. Moreover, the area available for the town, its shape, and the nature of the existing development presented problems of extreme difficulty.

11. As the Corporation thought it desirable that the two plans and reports should be submitted to you together, the Corporation decided that the Hatfield Master Plan could only be submitted in its main structure without the amount of detailed planning which was possible in that for Welwyn Garden City.

12. Before commenting upon the two plans individually, there are certain important points which the Corporation would wish to emphasize regarding the two designated areas taken as a whole.

13. In the first place the Corporation have interpreted your instructions with regard to ultimate population as meaning that:


(a) You wished a total population of 61,500 to be accommodated in the two towns; that in general terms you envisaged 36,500 for Welwyn and 25,000 for Hatfield, but that if planning considerations made this desirable, you would not object to there being slightly more than this figure at Welwyn and slightly less at Hatfield.

(b) Whilst you wanted the two towns to be separate and as far as possible self-contained, it would be recognized that a considerable number of people living in Hatfield might work in Welwyn, and vice versa (as in fact is already the case). Thus the area of land reserved for industry might be larger proportionately in one than in the other.

14. The Corporation regard this interpretation of its instructions as important for the following, among other reasons:


(a) That the industry at Hatfield is extremely unbalanced, the de Havilland factory employing 7,000.

(b) That there is within the designated area, only a limited amount of land for urban development at Hatfield.

(c) It is extremely undesirable that there should be further development west of the By-Pass road.

15. Nevertheless in his plan for Hatfield, Mr Brett has made provision for the housing of a population of 25,000 at the relatively high net residential density of 37 persons per acre. He has made provision for some 21 acres for further industrial land, which shall primarily be for service industries, having regard to the large de Havilland factory just outside the designated area.

16. Mr de Soissons has provided in his residential area for a possible population of 39,000 as opposed to 36,500. Under the circumstances the Corporation considers that a 10 per cent margin of safety is essential. They would emphasize, however, that if in practice it is found that a population of 25,000 at Hatfield is able to be achieved, then a portion of the outer fringe of the Welwyn Urban area can remain agricultural. Similarly, Mr de Soissons has provided, in addition to the area definitely planned for industry, a reserve industrial area.

17. The average net residential density provided for in the Welwyn Garden City plan is lower than the figure at Hatfield. It has to he borne in mind that the present population is nearly half the ultimate total. As will be seen from Mr de Soissons's report, the present net acreage already developed for residential purposes has a net residential density of 32.4. In a large number of houses, however, there is overcrowding, the average occupancy being 3.88. When this overcrowding has been abated and the occupancy brought down to an average of 3.5, the net residential density will be reduced to 29.2. Mr de Soissons proposes that the average net residential density for the new residential development shall be 32.7. This gives an average over the whole residential area of 31.1 if the population is to be 36,500.

18. The following figures with regard to the proposed ultimate urban areas of the two towns and the consequent overall density of the population have been arrived at on the following basis:


(a) There has been added to the urban area any coterminus portions of the surrounding belt which are specifically required for playing fields as opposed to agriculture, wood lands, etc.

(b) In the case of Hatfield, in view of the fact that the two factories are just outside the designated area which employ upwards of 7,000 people - a large proportion of whom will be housed in the town - for the purposes of calculation an addition has been made to the urban area of 200 acres, representing a gross acre to approximately every 35 persons employed. This is necessary because if these factories did not exist, approximately that additional quantity of land would have been allocated to industry in the plan. (Of course, the de Havilland works in fact occupy a much larger area if the aerodrome and the playing field are included.)


19. On the assumption that 25,000 persons can be accommodated within the Hatfield urban area and that the reserve industrial area at Welwyn Garden City is not required (thus reducing the urban area as shown in the plan by 50 acres for industry and 75 acres for the residential area not thus required) the overall densities would be:

Welwyn Garden City
Overall density


20. A requirement of both planners was that they should indicate the phasing of the development of each town, but such a programme is bound up with a major sewerage problem. Much depends upon whether these towns shall be drained to the Lee Valley or the Colne Valley. Until a firmer forecast can be made the planners were instructed to omit reference to any programme of deve1opment.

R. G. GOSLING, Chairman
R. L. REISS, Vice-Chairman

General Manager

October 1949





View of town centre and S.W. area from the north

(click image to enlarge)


View of S.W. area and industrial area from S.W.

(click image to enlarge)


View of S.E. area looking towards main railway

(click image to enlarge)


View of S.E. and N.E. areas from the south

(click image to enlarge)






The preparation of the Master Plan was preceded by a planning survey which is presented pictorially by the base maps which support the plan.

In the course of its preparation the plan, in all its stages, has been submitted to, and examined in detail by, the Corporation. The Draft Master Plan, some of the survey material and large-scale detail drawings formed the subject of an exhibition open to the public from 14 to 27 May, 1949, and the plan was explained to the public at two meetings held in Welwyn Garden City. In addition, the Draft Plan was submitted to the Welwyn Garden City Urban District Council and Hertfordshire County Council for their comments. Consideration has been given to views expressed by the adjoining Local Authorities, various committees and interested bodies, and the plan now presented is the result and incorporates various suggestions which have come from the consultations and meetings held.

In his foreword the chairman has thanked the many people who have helped by advice and suggestion, but I feel I must especially thank Mr J. Skinner, A.M.Inst.C.E., the Corporation's Chief Engineer, who has throughout given such valuable assistance in connection with road planning and other civil engineering matters. I would also like to thank my own personal staff and especially my chief Town Planning Assistant, Mr J. C. P. West, A.R.I.B.A., A.M.T.P.I.





The Corporation was instructed by the Minister of Town and Country Planning to prepare a plan which would allow for an increase of the existing population from approximately 18,500 to a balanced population of 36,500, this population being accommodated in the designated area, whose boundaries were settled by the Minister.

The existing development of Welwyn Garden City is the result of a plan originally prepared in 1919-20 for Welwyn Garden City Limited, who at that time were seeking to achieve the ideals promulgated by Sir Ebenezer Howard and which have since been suggested in the recent reports on new towns. This first plan, several times modified, was based on the principle that the town should be established and developed as a self-contained and balanced community for work and living. So much has already been written and published on Welwyn Garden City that it is sufficient to state in this report that the town was originally conceived as a compact unit, to have a pronounced urban character, with the major open spaces, in the main, on the periphery of the area. The existing development and land use is shown on Diagram No. 2.


Existing Land Use

(click image to enlarge)



The designated area for the new town of Welwyn Garden City covers 4,231 acres - the centre of which lies approximately twenty miles north of King's Cross Station, London. The area is bounded on the west by the Great North Road and on the north by the Hertford-Welwyn road (B.1000). The eastern boundary is partly formed by Green Lane which marks the edge of Panshanger Airfield (the latter being included in the designated area). To the south the boundary is a line running approximately parallel to the north Orbital Road which will leave an area (largely in the Hatfield designated area) having a depth of approximately 1,000 yards as a green belt between the new towns of Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.

The area is divided by the main line railway running north and south, by the Luton branch line running west and by the Hertford branch line running east. The presence of the existing railway line pattern virtually quarters the designated area and for ease of reference these four areas are subsequently referred to by their geographical location, i.e. N.E., N.W., S.E., and S.W. Areas.

The highest point in the designated area lies in Sherrardswood in the N.W. at a point some 410 feet above sea level. From this point the ground falls rather steeply at first both to the north and the south, and then the contours flatten, resulting in a more gentle N.E. slope to the valley of the River Mimram and in a SW. direction to the Lee Valley. The undeveloped areas generally, with one exception, are in softly sloping pleasant countryside, undramatic, but with some fine trees and woods. The exception is in the part of the N.E. area in the vicinity of and including Panshanger Airfield where the countryside is flat. In the N.W. areas from just beyond the northern boundary of Sherrardswood and Temple Wood some glorious views are seen across the N.E. area itself and in a general north-easterly direction across the Mimram Valley and to the open country beyond. Wherever possible the planning takes into account these views and every endeavour has been made to preserve the maximum amount of woodlands and small groups of trees.


In formulating my proposals I prepared the following study sheets:

  Drainage Areas
  Areas to be contoured
  Influence of Panshanger Airfield
  Open areas not to be built upon
  Allotments - existing
  Bus Routes - existing
  Existing and proposed Residential and Industrial development
  School sites - existing and proposed
  Playing Fields - existing and proposed
  Residential Densities - existing and proposed
  Housing Tenancies - existing
  Housing Tenancies - proposed
  Social Service Buildings - existing and proposed
  Shops - existing and proposed
  Places of Worship - existing and proposed
  Licensed Premises - existing and proposed
  Land capable of early development
  Proposed Land Acquisition
  Two-Year Building Programme

All these study sheets were discussed with the Corporation and the facts embodied in these studies are now included in the Master Plan, sections and diagrams which follow.


Very broadly the plan proposes the following:


major extensions to the existing residential development in the N.W. and S.E. areas, the rounding off the existing residential development in the S.W. area and the construction of a new residential unit in the N.E. area;
NOTE: The residential units will all have their own unit and sub-unit centres which will be complete with commercial, social service and recreative facilities.
extension of the existing Industrial Area in the N.E. and SE. areas;
reservation of an area for gravel extraction;
completion of the town centre within the boundaries already prescribed by contiguous development;
amendments to some existing road junctions and improvements and widening to bridges crossing the railway;
completion of the major north to south industrial traffic route to make connection in the north with the Hertford-Welwyn road (B.1000) and in the south with the North Orbital Road. This latter junction to be at a point convenient to the proposed road link to Hatfield;
the provision of a large area for playing fields in the flat ground to the east of the town and immediately to the north of the Hertford branch railway;

In the north, the Mimram Valley is kept free of development and in the south the portion of the Lee Valley within the area is to be preserved and developed as a natural riverside park. The existing small watercourses in the S.E. area are preserved as green ways by which it will be possible to walk through and out of the town in natural surroundings.

Sherrardswood, Conduit Woods and Reddings Plantation, in the N.W. area, with their magnificent trees, are retained as an open space to the extent of approximately 180 acres, and Brockswood is similarly preserved. Another woodland, "The Commons", of some 530 acres in extent, borders the S.E. boundary of the designated area. This forms part of the green belt between Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield and will become available to residents in Welwyn Garden City. The plan provides for footpaths and green ways from "The Commons" to link up with the residential development in the S.E. area.

The new planning proposals follow the original conception, altered to meet the modified eventual size of the town and the latest developments with regard to transport, social services and schools. Another factor which the plan takes into account is the relationship of the town to Hatfield, the designated area of which is coterminus with that for Welwyn Garden City.

Under the New Towns Act it is now hoped to carry out the building of the town in a comparatively short space of time as an organized whole, with all authorities contributing to the agreed scheme. This will allow churches, schools, halls, and social service and health buildings to be planned and erected as an immediate and integral part of the development and to correct the monotony of the incomplete residential areas.

For the sake of aesthetic continuity, the architectural character of the areas already partly built up will be continued. In the other areas the architectural note and materials may be changed in an endeavour to achieve variety.

It is hoped that the plan now proposed will serve to fix the zones of use and main road pattern. The detailed development will be evolved as and when the work is carried out.




In general the proposed road pattern follows closely on the lines of that already laid down in the existing built-up areas of the town and includes the use of closes and cul-de-sacs. These latter have proved popular with the residents and provide the planner and architects with a means of introducing variety into what can easily become a monotonous road pattern.

The road pattern and the location of unit centres takes fully into account the contours and all existing features such as trees, both in groups and singly, hedgerows, ponds, ditches, existing buildings, etc. These features have all been considered and incorporated wherever possible in the layout in order that the existing character of the various areas may be preserved and each residential unit may therefore retain its own individual character.

The question of traffic circulation is more fully dealt with in Section H - Transport. Generally speaking, in the new residential areas themselves every endeavour has been made to provide easy and safe access to the unit centres and schools, and cycle tracks have been provided to link the N.E., S.E., and N.W. residential units with the industrial area. Footpaths and green ways have been provided, particularly in the extensions to the S.E. area, which make it possible to reach the shops without using the roads and in addition provide an alternative route for most journeys.

Each new residential area will have its own unit centre which is placed within easy walking distance of the area it is planned to serve and will be complete with shops for daily shopping, churches, social centres, licensed premises, car parks, etc. They will in fact be complete "Unit Centres".

In making calculations of residential densities, I was instructed by the Welwyn Garden City Development Corporation to aim at figures which would allow for an ultimate population of approximately 39,000. This increase of 2,500 over the original figure of 36,500 was for the purpose of housing in Welwyn Garden City persons intended for Hatfield New Town if it was not found possible to achieve the population target in that town. If ultimately this safety measure is found unnecessary then the residential areas of Welwyn Garden City will be reduced in size accordingly and the land will remain in its present use.

As stated, the designated area is quartered by the existing railway lines. The following descriptions of the planning proposals in each area are of a very general nature and reference should be made to later Sections for fuller information and statistical details.

6. N.E. AREA

This is a completely new residential unit, apart from a few houses at Digswell Water, and is to accommodate approximately 4,600 persons. It is sited to the N.N.W. of the proposed extension to the industrial area, with a tree belt some 75 ft to 100 ft in depth between the factories and the gardens of the houses nearest the industrial area. The actual factories to be erected adjacent to the residential area will probably be of the sectional type. Architecturally, it is reasonably easy to relate this type of factory to a contiguous residential unit but of more importance is the fact that the type of manufacturing work can be regulated in order to cause the least nuisance possible to the adjoining residents.

The whole area slopes gently in a N.E. direction to the valley of the River Mimram and commands excellent views over this river to the open country beyond. The main industrial traffic route follows the eastern boundary of this area until it joins with the Welwyn-Hertford road and only one road link to this industrial traffic route is provided from the residential area in order to deter industrial traffic from taking what would prove to be an ill-conceived traffic route through the residential development.

Two cycle tracks and pedestrian footpaths are provided for the convenience of the workers coming from the N.E. and N.W. areas to the industrial area.

There are links from this area to the N. W. area and the town centre by a new road crossing over the main railway line, by an improvement of the existing road under the viaduct and by the existing bridge at Black Fan which will be for the use of cyclists and pedestrians only.

7. N.W. AREA

The Plan provides for a major extension to the existing residential area which lies immediately to the north of the Luton branch railway. The existing population of this area is in the region of 1,100 and it is proposed to increase this to approximately 8,200.

The plans for this area, previously prepared by Welwyn Garden City Limited, had always met with strong local opposition voiced by the Urban District Council and the "Save the Woods Committee" owing to the amount of development proposed in the area known as Sherrardswood.

The Corporation carefully considered these representations and decided that the new plan should leave Sherrardswood practically undisturbed; and that further development should be confined to rounding off and tidying up existing development.

It was recognized, however, that in taking this course, the Corporation would be depriving itself of the ability to build houses in that portion of the designated area which has the highest residential amenity and therefore would command the highest level of residential ground rents, as well as providing such attractions as would encourage those who wished for larger houses to reside in the town, rather than in the surrounding country districts. They would also be depriving the town of potential rateable value.

The other area of the highest amenity value in this part of the town is what is known as the Maitland property. This is separated from Sherrardswood by an existing road which approaches Colonel Maitland's house.

The Corporation decided that as compensation for the loss of the potential development in Sherrardswood, it should retain the right to develop a considerable proportion of this area, thus securing the high ground rents likely to be obtained and ensuring that the town shall have a proper balance of all income grades.

If such development takes place it is essential that the area shall be linked with the town centre, and, with this object in mind, I have shown a road crossing the wood. This proposed road has been the subject of some opposition locally, and it has been suggested that there might be an alternative route for motor vehicles and that the crossing of the wood should only be a cycle track and footpath.

After considering carefully this proposal I came to the conclusion that, if a footpath or cycle track were constructed, it would have to be lighted and, unless obstructions were suitably placed, would soon become ragged and untidy, due to its being used by motor traffic. If obstructions were placed at the end of the track, I feel sure that, if development commenced in the "Maitland Area", the demands of those living in the areas would be for the track to be converted into a road for motor traffic. It is for these reasons that the road has been shown on the Master Plan. It is not proposed that the road through the woods should be constructed until such time as the Corporation find it necessary and decide definitely to open up the Maitland area for residential development.

The whole of the development in the N.W. area is served by the main north to south spine road which at the southern end is a continuation of the existing Digswell Road, thus providing a link to the town centre, and on the north joins the Hertford-Welwyn Road (B.1000) at the junction of the proposed road across "Lockleys" to the Great North Road. At this roundabout a signpost will direct industrial traffic away from this route to its own fast route which makes connection with the road B.1000 at a more easterly point. The provision of this fast industrial route should deter industrial traffic from trying to wend its way through this residential area. Two branch roads to the east off the N-S. spine road provide connection with the N.E. area. One of these roads entails the construction of a new bridge over the railway and the other crossing is an improvement to the existing road which passes under the viaduct.

The unit centre has been placed in the centre of the new development in view of the fact that the existing built-up area is in close proximity to, and is served by, the town centre. In addition, when the central area is more fully developed, its attractions to the existing development will be even further increased so there would be no occasion for the existing residents to go to the unit centre for their daily shopping.

8. S.W. AREA

This area is in the main fully developed and it is only proposed to provide accommodation for an additional 1,200 gross (or 900 net after allowing for abatement of overcrowding. See Section D.). This will be done by infilling and rounding off and tidying up the fringe development using, in the main, existing estate roads and services.

A considerable portion of the S.W. area is already served by the town centre even for daily shopping, but it is proposed to increase the existing shopping facilities at Handside Lane and provide space for the erection of a health centre and day nursery in the vicinity of the existing Barn Theatre. The extremely friendly and intimate character of the Barn Theatre has been built up over a period of years by the residents themselves, and planning proposals for this area have been based on the complete retention of this charming atmosphere. A little structural work is required to assist the general production of plays, etc. but this work can easily be done without changing the spirit of the Barn Theatre.

There are four existing entrances to the town from the Great North Road in the S.W. area. They are all unsatisfactory and dangerous in varying degrees.

The southern entrance at Stanborough Lane is at the four-way junction at the "Bull" Public House. It is proposed to stop-off this road to motor traffic, leaving the existing carriageway as a cycle and footpath link, and to form a new entrance to the town at a more southerly point at the junction of the North Orbital Road and the Great North Road. As the volume of traffic on the North Orbital Road increases, the need for a revision of the junction of the Great North Road will become imperative and it is considered that the proposed new entrance to Welwyn Garden City could be constructed at this point with the minimum of cost, at the same time as the major engineering works envisaged by the construction of a roundabout are being carried out. From this point the new road will run north to the point where Parkway joins Stanborough Lane. Traffic going to the town centre and the western residential districts will continue up Parkway while that going to the eastern residential districts and the industrial area will fork over an improved Twentieth-Mile Bridge.

The existing junctions of Valley Road and Lemsford Lane with the Great North Road are complicated and dangerous, and it is proposed to sweep Lemsford Lane around to link with Valley Road and make one connection from Valley Road, north of the existing entrance. At this point it will be possible to make a right-angle junction with the Great North Road, thus greatly improving the entrance to Valley Road and, in addition, avoiding the other existing connection to Lemsford village on the west side of the Great North Road.

Brockswood Lane is shown on the plan as a cul-de-sac with a cycle track connection to the Great North Road. This lane is now and probably will in the future be much used by cyclists and pedestrians. It is considered that when the new road is constructed across Lockleys, linking the N.W. area with the Great North Road, it will take the motor traffic going north and Brockswood Lane will be left as a cycle and pedestrian way only.

Part of the new residential development will take place on the present town football ground. which is not well sited, but this will not materialize until the stadium shown on the plan has been constructed. The area vacated by the football club will be used for housing with a space reserved to allow for increasing the existing shopping facilities in Handside Lane. The stadium could be used by the town’s main sports teams, with accommodation for up to say 10,000 spectators. In addition a cinder track would provide facilities for the Welwyn cycle clubs and various athletic associations, and it would be on such a ground that the town's Sports Day could take place. To the south of the stadium is a public playing field area, mainly for organized games. To the south of the Playing Fields is a site which slopes gently to the S.W. and this site has been considered by the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board as a possible site for a regional hospital. The site has a southern slope with a level area in the northern portion which could accommodate the hospital buildings. One additional advantage in this site is that it lies between the new towns of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, and, being easy of access from the Great North Road, would enable it to serve not only these towns but also the surrounding district.

The existing swimming pool adjacent to the River Lee is to be enlarged and improved and will form a point of particular interest in the Riverside Park which it is proposed should be formed in the valley of the Lee. The park will follow the course of the river in the S.W. area and will continue into the green belt to be provided between the two towns.

9. S.E. AREA

The proposed residential development in this area comprises a major extension to an existing residential area. The existing built-up area will be subject to certain clearances in order to free the main north to south industrial traffic route from residential development and, in addition, it is hoped to ease the existing overcrowding in this area. These proposals will, in due course, reduce the population of the existing area by approximately 2,000 persons and, as it is proposed to accommodate some 10,200 persons in the new development, the ultimate population envisaged for the whole of the S.E. area, when fully developed, will be in the region of 18,000. The existing development is mainly weekly rented property and it is in this S.E. area particularly that efforts will be made to introduce into the new development area a fairly high proportion of monthly rented and privately owned dwellings. The new development will comprise, in the main, compact groups of housing broken down by the introduction of green wedges running right into the area and providing green ways into the surrounding country.

The existing development is served by a well-established unit centre at the junction of Woodhall Lane and Cole Green Lane as well as by a sub-unit in Peartree Lane, a small store in Knella Road and two or three scattered single shops. Part of the new development will be based on the existing unit centre at Woodhall which will be increased in size to accommodate more shops, health centre, cinema, etc. In the original planning of this part of the Garden City, it was expected that further development would take place in this area and provision was made for the future extension of this unit centre. I have therefore found myself in the fortunate position of being able to plan for a large unit centre in an existing built-up area without having to resort to demolition in order to provide the actual areas of ground required.

It is proposed to increase the existing shopping facilities at Peartree Lane, resite and enlarge the Knella Road Store and bring into the unit centres the existing scattered single shops. A new unit centre is planned in the vicinity of Ludwick House which will serve about 5,000 persons, and, in addition, a small sub-unit shopping centre is to be built at the end of Hollybush Lane to serve the development in that area.

Particular attention has been paid to the preservation of existing water courses in this area, and, by the provision of footpaths in these green wedges, it is possible to walk to the open country or to the unit centres without using the roads. Footpath links are also provided at convenient points to provide short cuts or alternative routes to the shopping centres. The area to the south of the unit centre at Ludwick is particularly rich in natural features and the plan endeavours to provide for the retention and complete enjoyment of these features without materially altering the existing character.

The internal road pattern follows that of the existing development, and the industrial traffic is dealt with by a branch of the main north to south traffic road running parallel to the western boundary of this S.E. area, all residential development being kept clear of this road which makes connection with the North Orbital Road at a point convenient to link up with the Hatfield Road pattern. This new road, in addition to providing an entrance and exit for industrial traffic, will facilitate the movement of workers between the two towns. It is not anticipated that the volume of industrial traffic on this route would be so heavy as to deter cyclists from Hatfield using this route; in any event it would be a much safer route than the Great North Road, which is the alternative.

On the western boundary of this area, adjacent to the railway and immediately to the south of the existing public playing field, is planned a small industrial area where it is suggested might be located the coal and firewood merchants, sand and gravel distributors and other distributive industries which need considerable areas of ground on which to stock materials.

The residential development on the S.W. boundary of this area has been planned firstly, to keep to a minimum the entrances on to the main industrial traffic road, and secondly, to retain as much as possible of the farmland and home fields of the Woodhall Farm. To minimize disturbance, the existing field boundaries have been used to form the boundaries of some of the residential development and the maximum amount of open space has been left between Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield New Town.


(See Diagrams 2 and 3)


Existing and Proposed Development

(click image to enlarge)



The major portion of the existing residential development lies astride the main railway line in the south-east and south-west portions of the designated area. The civilian population within the Urban District at 31 March 1948, as estimated by The Registrar-General, was 18,281. The total number of occupied houses (or equivalent) at September 1948 was 4,708. The net residential density in 1948 was 32.4.

The average number of persons per dwelling was 3.88 and there were a number of houses which were overcrowded, mostly by being occupied by two families.

When this overcrowding has been abated, it is assumed that the average occupation will be brought down to 3.5. This means that 1,730* persons will have to be accommodated in the new residential areas. It is estimated that about 1,430 of these persons are at present in overcrowded conditions in the south-east area and about 300 in the south-west area.

It is proposed that the existing residential development should remain unchanged except that a certain number of houses will have to be demolished in order to free the proposed industrial route from residential development, to decrease a number of estate road junctions with this traffic route and for other reasons.

The effect of abating overcrowding and of the proposed demolitions will be to reduce the acreage of existing residential development by 18.6 and the population by 2,330. This will lower the net residential density from 32.4 to 29.2.

       * Mathematically the figure is 1,788 but allowance must be made for hostels, etc.


In order to provide additional accommodation to bring the population of the town up to the target figure of 39,000 it is proposed to add major extensions to the existing residential development in the N.W. and S.E. areas, to round off the existing development in the S.W. area and to construct a new residential unit in the N.E. area. The new residential areas have been planned for a mixed grouping of dwellings, with the number of persons varying from 22 to 38 per acre at an average net residential density of 32.7.

In calculating net residential densities I have excluded the land to be devoted to local allotments and minor open spaces, which are not shown separately on the plan. The average occupancy of a house has been taken as 3.5 persons and of a flat as 2.5 persons.

The proposals include the rehousing in the new development area of all those persons who will be displaced when the clearance mentioned in paragraph 10 is carried out and overcrowding has been abated.

The ultimate net residential density over the whole of the town will be 31.2. The densities in each of the four areas are shown in the following table:

and Over-
N.E. Area
N.W. Area
S.E. Area

Average NET Residential Density of existing development
Average NET Residential Density after abating overcrowding
Average NET Residential Density of new development
Average NET Residential Density of whole town (39,000)

32.4 p.p.a
29.2 p.p.a.
32.7 p.p.a.
31.2 p.p.a.

If eventually the town accommodates only 36,500 people, the residential area will be reduced by about 76 acres and the net residential density over whole town will average 31.1 p.p.a.


In order to secure a balanced residential development in the new town when completed, it is necessary to make provision for a balanced proportion of people of the varying income groups. This in turn involves providing for different types of houses. Not merely should there be this balance in the town as a whole, but there should be the right balance in each of the four areas into which the town is divided.


Existing and Proposed Tenancies

(click image to enlarge)


In order to provide for this, the existing and proposed dwellings have been divided into three main categories.

CATEGORY A. Weekly rented houses.

CATEGORY B. Houses which may conveniently be termed "monthly rented type". These houses carry a higher rent than the weekly type, either because they are rather larger or because they are built at a lower density or for various other reasons. Both the existing and proposed houses of this type will, for the most part, be occupied on rental terms, but a certain number of the existing are privately owned and some of the proposed houses may also be occupied by their owners.

CATEGORY C. Houses which on Diagram 4 are referred to as "privately owned" or detached. Most of the existing houses of this type are privately owned, but there are a number which are let on annual or longer tenancies. New houses in this group may also be either privately owned or offered on rental terms. Most, but not all, of the houses of this type will be detached or semi-detached, though a certain number in particular areas may be in terraces. Generally, the houses will be larger than the monthly rented type, built at a lower density and, for the most part, will be on sites having special amenity value.

It is recognized that the distinctions between these three categories are approximate only and are used as a guide for density.

The existing development, whilst being fairly well balanced, taking the town as a whole, is by no means well balanced as between the areas into which the town is divided. Thus the existing development in the north-west area consists in the main of houses in Category C, though there are a certain number in Category B. On the other hand the overwhelming majority of the houses in the south-east area are of the weekly rented type, though there are a certain number of the monthly rented and a very few larger houses.

In the preparation of the Master Plan I prepared various studies showing suggestions for grouping of houses of thc various types in the new development areas. These studies were shown to the Corporation as a pictorial presentation of my intention that the Plan for the New Town should ensure a more varied grouping of house types than exists at present. The figures included in the following table, where they apply to new development, must be taken as suggestions only. At this stage it is not possible to do more than consider this matter in broad principle, but the ideas underlying the suggestions should form the basis for practical application as new development proceeds.

The following table shows, for each of the four residential areas, the percentage of the acreage which will be used for each type of dwelling and also the percentage of the population occupying each type:


A (Weekly type)
B (Monthly type)
C (Privately owned
     and similar)


At this stage it is not considered possible or even reasonable to state definitely what proportion of flats and old people's dwellings there will be, nor what proportion of the houses shall have two, three, four or more bedrooms.

The following schemes have been prepared:

SCHEME 1. 18 three-roomed, 28 two-roomed and 60 one-roomed flats, together with central restaurant and sitting rooms.

The construction of the first portion of this scheme has already commenced.

SCHEME 2. 12 four-roomed, 75 five-roomed and 11 six-roomed houses, 4 three-roomed fiats and 2 two-roomed flats.

The Urban District Council is busily engaged on building houses which are mostly five-roomed.




The Plan provides for a town centre and four main unit centres, namely, one in the north-west, one in the north-east and two in the south-east; and four minor unit centres, one being in the southern portion of the south-west area and the other three in the south-east area. The town centre, in addition to providing for the needs of the town generally, will also serve as a unit centre for the population living in the northern portion of the south-west area and the southern portion of the north-west area.


The town centre lies immediately to the west of the main railway line and south of the Luton branch line. It may be divided into two portions, namely, The "Campus", lying to the north of Bridge Road, which it is proposed shall be used in the main, though not necessarily exclusively, for the chief administrative, cultural and recreational buildings; and that part lying to the south of Bridge Road where the shops, banks and other premises will be located.

At this stage in the preparation of the Master Plan there has not been time to prepare more than a diagrammatic suggestion for the use of land in the central area. Part of the town centre is already built and the area available for new building is limited by the existing development which in fact forms the natural boundaries to the area. The present central area development is part only of a plan prepared some time ago which, if it had been completed, would have resulted in a reasonably open plan. Since the preparation of that plan the activities to be accommodated in the central area have increased considerably; this means that, with the boundaries already prescribed, the development to take place will be more compact than had been anticipated.

The functions of the town centre fall into various groups and, from investigations made to date, it would appear that the actual buildings to be accommodated in the central area may have to include the following:

Extensions to offices for Urban District Council, divisional offices for the Hertfordshire County Council, Police Divisional Headquarters, Court House and offices for branches of Government Departments.

This group may include accommodation for a town theatre with rehearsal rooms for both drama and music, halls for permanent and temporary exhibitions and chamber music, a large meeting hall for general purposes, a county college and adult education centre, a central library, swimming bath, billiard saloon, cinema and suites of rooms for hiring by various organizations.

This group includes shops, banks, hotels, offices, licensed premises, restaurant, cafés, service station and a certain number of flats.

The two existing manufacturing industries, Broadwater Press and Cresta Silks, will also remain on the edge of the Town Centre.

Ample provision has also to be made in the town centre for car parking facilities for private cars, taxis and buses.

It is possible that there may also be a local heating unit to serve the whole of the town centre.

From the above list it will be seen that there is a certain amount of overlapping, and for this reason, and also because of economy, it will in many cases be necessary and desirable to house various units on different floors of the same buildings.

For this and other reasons, it is necessary for the central area to be designed as a whole, not as a pattern of suggested land use only; and also for the buildings themselves to be designed in some detail. The final plan must also of necessity take into account the priority of various uses and the order in which the various buildings will be erected. Before such a stage is reached considerable investigation must take place, to enable the Corporation to precise its programme of development.

The town centre has already been partially developed, but the only building at present on the Campus section of it is the Urban District Council Offices. The list of buildings mentioned above does not include any places of worship, but the existing ones are mainly located immediately to the south of it on Parkway. In the town centre, as it now exists, is the large departmental store together with a number of individual shops, a cinema, a garage, a public house and a certain number of offices and flats.


Of the four projected main unit centres, one, namely the Woodhall centre, is already partially developed. It includes a certain number of shops, with others under construction, a community centre, one church, a public house and a number of flats. All four unit centres are designed to accommodate groups of shops and in some cases a few small workshops, various classes of communal buildings, licensed premises and, at least in one of them, a cinema.

In addition to the four main unit centres, four minor ones are included in the Plan, to serve the needs of those who are located at some distance from the main centres. These minor centres include one off Handside Lane in the southern portion of the south-west area and three in the south-east area - Peartree Lane, Knella Road and Hollybush Lane. Of these, the one in Peartree Lane is largely developed and there are individual shops in Handside Lane and Knella Road.


For day-to-day shopping and social needs it is roughly estimated that the populations using the various unit centres will be as follows:

  North-western (this excludes those living in the extreme south of
this area who will use the town centre)
  South-eastern (a) Woodhall
    (b) Ludwick
  South-western (Handside - the remainder in the northern
portion of the south-west area using the town centre)
  South-eastern (a) Peartree Lane
    (b) Knella Road
    (c) Hollybush Lane

  Using the Town Centre  




In working out some of the details of the Master Plan, it was necessary to make calculations as to the total amount of shopping space necessary to serve the town when fully developed. Account had also to be taken of the fact that a number of people in the surrounding districts already use the existing shops in the town centre. Allowances, therefore, had to be made for this tendency, which is increasing.

The existing shopping development in Welwyn Garden City differs from that in most towns of comparable size. The principle adopted in the past has been that of having a large departmental store in the town centre, together with branches in the unit centres. This was coupled with the provision of a number of individual shops, most of them built by the developing company and rented to their occupiers.

The fact that the main departmental store with its four branches within the town has a turnover of well over £1,000,000 per annum, representing over £4 per week per occupied house, while on the other hand there are a number of small shops, is obviously a factor that will have to be taken into account in planning for the future.

The existing smaller shops have frontages of either 20 ft or 25 ft, but some firms occupy a double unit while others occupy only half of the unit.

Various yardsticks were considered for the purpose of making preliminary calculations as to the amount of shopping space which will be required in the completed town. Probably the most accurate method would be to reckon in terms of area of selling space per 100 of the population. There are, however, many difficulties in working this out in practice. Eventually it seemed best to make calculations on the basis of shopping units of 20 ft frontage with an average depth of selling space of 25 ft and a total depth of 40 to 50 ft, making adjustments when applying this to departmental stores and other larger shops.

In the following estimate the number of shopping units as thus defined amounts to about one unit to every 125 of the ultimate population. In making the calculations no clear distinction has been made between what are commonly termed central shops and local shops, partly because the town centre will also serve as the unit centre for some 7,000 people. It has also been assumed that substantially more trade will be done in the town with people living outside than will be done by local residents shopping elsewhere, as in fact is now the case.


Estimates of
to be served
Number of
Existing Shop
Units or equivalent
Number of
Additional Shop
Units or equivalent
Shop Units
TOWN CENTRE Local    )

    N.W. Area
    N.E. Area
    S.E. Area - Woodhall
    S.E. Area - Ludwick

    S.W. Area - Handside
    S.E. Area - Peartree
    S.E. Area - Knella
    S.E. Area - Hollybush
    Industrial Area









The Corporation has not yet had an opportunity of arriving at any decision as to the extent to which the shopping policy, as carried out in the past, shall be modified. By adopting the above method of estimating in terms of the number of shop units (as opposed to shops) the maximum elasticity is provided for and it is considered that sufficient land has been reserved for shopping to carry out whatever policy the Corporation may decide.


Most of the cinemas and other places of recreation provided commercially will be located in the town centre. Sites have been reserved, however, for one cinema each in the Woodhall main unit centre in the south-eastern area and in the north-west unit centre. There is at present one cinema in the town centre.


There are at present five licensed premises within the designated area. One of these is in the town centre and one at each end of the Woodhall unit centre. The remaining two (both of which were in existence before 1919) are outside any of the centres.

It should be added that there are four other licensed premises just outside the designated area which serve some of the existing residential development and are so situated as to serve extensions to the existing town on its northern and western boundaries.

No exact calculations have been made as to how many additional licensed premises will be required, and, presumably, early consideration will be given to this by the local Advisory Committee to be set up under the recent Licensing Act. A considerable number of sites have been reserved, however, for additional licensed premises. The local Advisory Committee will no doubt have under consideration the extent to which there shall be registered clubs and canteens entitled to serve intoxicating liquors. The only club at present registered is the Golf Club.

A site has been provisionally allocated for a residential hotel to be erected in the town centre and it is possible that one of the existing small country houses in the vicinity of the new Ludwick centre might form the nucleus of a residential hotel.


There are at present in the town, the following buildings used for various social purposes:

A Community Centre erected before the war by the Urban District Council, which contains one large and two small halls, together with committee rooms; the Lawrence Hall and Backhouse Room in the south-west area, owned by the Educational Association and let for varied social purposes; two full-time youth clubs, viz. the Peartree Boys' Club in the Peartree secondary unit centre and the Trevelyan House Club on the edge of the town centre; a small theatre (called the Barn because it was constructed within an existing large barn) in the south west area, which is used for amateur dramatic performances; and a sports club above the departmental stores in the town centre.

In addition some halls owned by the churches are used for various social purposes. There are also two or three quite small buildings used by Scouts and Girl Guides. Three of the licensed premises also have accommodation which is used for dances and other functions, and the Parkway Restaurant, in the main departmental store, is used in the evenings for similar activities. There is a small workmen's club in the factory area using a temporary building and several of the factories have got accommodation for the social purposes of their employees.

In the Plan sufficient space has been allowed, both in the town centre and in the unit centres, for additional community buildings of varying types.


The existing population would appear to be well served by churches, chapels and halls used for religious purposes and I do not propose to make a provision for any increase in buildings within the existing residential development. In some cases sites for places of worship were purchased some time ago, but so far the only building to be constructed is a church hall, used temporarily for services until the church itself is built.

In other cases religious bodies who have acquired sites have so far only been able to erect temporary buildings. There will, of course, be no objection to the erection of permanent buildings on the sites.

The following is a list of the existing buildings used for religious purposes:

  N.W. AREA: 1 Small old Anglican Church

1 Anglican Church
1 Baptist Church
1 Friends' Meeting House
1 Presbyterian Church
1 Roman Catholic Church
1 Salvation Army building
In addition, the Christian Scientists have erected a temporary
building on the site where their permanent building will be built.

2 Anglican Churches
1 Congregational Church
1 Methodist Church (this is a temporary building)

Other smaller denominations rent, on Sundays, halls used for other purposes during the week.

Discussions have taken place with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Churches Joint Planning Committee and general agreement has been reached on the following list of additional church sites shown on the Master Plan:

  N.W. AREA: One and, in addition, an extension to the site of the existing church
  N.E. AREA: Two churches
  S.W. AREA: One church
  S.E. AREA: Four churches

In general it is hoped to include at least one church building group comprising church, church hall and vicarage at each unit centre in order that those centres shall contain all the buildings necessary for a full community life and, in addition, to provide each centre with the possibility of variety in architectural treatment. On the other hand, some of the church sites are proposed in other parts of the residential areas and have usually been placed where it is felt that they will be most significant architecturally and where, by their shape and size, they will make a valuable contribution to the road patterns and general layout. In view of the ease with which it is possible to fit church sites into residential zones, it is not anticipated that there will be any difficulty in meeting any further demands that may be made upon the Corporation for additional sites in the new development area if these are found to be required.




There is at present no Health Centre designed as such, but clinics of various kinds are held in the Lawrence Hall in the south-west area and the Community Centre in the south-east area. There are also two temporary day nurseries in the south-east and south-west areas respectively.

The Plan makes provision for the erection of two types of Health Centres as follows:

  (a) PART III.
Centres covering the County Health Services and including Maternity and Child Welfare, Ante-Natal
clinics, duty rooms, vaccination and School Health Services.
  (b) PART IV.
Centres which represent the General Medical Service, covering medical, dental and optical services.

Consultations have taken place with the Hertfordshire County Council on this matter and the County Medical Officer stated that he would require one site for a comprehensive Health Centre covering Part III and Part IV services, and that he wished this to be in the south-east area. He would also require two further Part III centres, one in the north-west and one in the south-west. He has agreed to the suggestion that the comprehensive Health Centre in the south east area should be located in the Woodhall unit centre, and to the sites for the other two being in Handside Lane in the south-west area and in the Digswell unit centre in the north-west area. The last-named would serve the north-east area as well. The areas allocated are S.E. area (Part III and IV), 2 acres; S.W. area (Part III), 1.25 acres; and N.W. area (Part III), 1.25 acres.

The County Medical Officer also stated that he required sites for three day nurseries and has agreed that one should be in the south-east area in close proximity to the Health Centre in Woodhall, that there should be a second nursery in the south-east area in the Peartree unit centre and one in the south-west area near the Handside Health Centre.


There is at present a small Cottage Hospital in the south-west area on the edge of the town centre. The building, originally constructed as a private school, has been adapted for the purpose and contains about sixteen hospital beds. The leasehold interest of this building has been acquired by the North-West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. There is also a Maternity Home in the south-east area with just over twenty beds. This building was originally designed as a boys' hostel and has been adapted for its present purpose; it is rented by the North-West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.

As already indicated, a site for a large hospital has for the time being been reserved at the request of the chairman of the North-west Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board to serve not merely Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, but also the surrounding area. Whether the Hospital Board will finally wish to erect the hospital there or elsewhere in the district is as yet undecided, but in any case the existing small hospitals and maternity home will ultimately be replaced by larger and more suitably sited premises.

It should be added that there is a small private maternity home in the south-west area.


There are at present in the town the following school buildings:


In the south-west area:

1 Grammar School
1 Secondary Modern School
1 Primary School (i.e. Infants and Juniors)

In the south-east area:

1 Junior School
1 Infants' School
1 Nursery School

The Primary Schools are very overcrowded and a number of classes are held in other social buildings rented for the purpose. A primary school is in course of erection in the north west area.

Day Continuation Classes are held by the Education Authority in the Peartree Boys' Club buildings in the south-eastern area.


In the north-west area:

One school partly housed in a building designed for the purpose and partly in other premises rented.
This school has a governing body and is used by children from five to eighteen of both sexes.

In the south-west area:

One Convent school used by girls from five to eighteen and boys from five to nine.

Both of these are substantial and well established.

The following school sites (including the sites of the existing schools) have been agreed by the Education Officer of the Hertfordshire County Council, subject to possible minor variations in the actual areas of the sites.


(a) F.E. = Form Entry
(b) Except where otherwise stated the building is "proposed".
(c) The figures are based on a 36,000 population (see later).
Ref. No. on
Diagram No. 3
Seniors go to Secondary
Schools in N.W. Area
28 )
18 )
Also serve N.E. Area
Existing building at pre-
sent Infants and Juniors.
Existing building at pre-
sent Secondary Modern.
Existing building but
additional playing fields
at present Sec. Gram.
Grammar School stu-
dents will use schools in
N.W. and S.E. areas.
Existing building
Existing building
Roman Catholic
TOTAL 12P. 5S.

In addition there are:

(a) Six sites for Nursery Schools of 40-unit type at 05 acres per school = 3 acres.
  (b) A site for a County College in the town centre with playing fields
detached. Total Area = 53 acres.

Certain changes are suggested in the classification of some of the existing schools which will give a final overall list of schools to be provided by the Education Authority as follows:

6 Nursery Schools
4 Infant )
3 Junior ) on separate sites
4 Primary
2 Secondary Grammar
3 Secondary Modern
1 Adult Education Centre
1 Roman Catholic

The sites of the two existing Private Schools are also shown but no provision is made for any additions to the number.


In general the primary schools have been sited within the residential areas so that each school is within easy walking distance of the area it is to serve, but, in view of the large areas required for playing fields adjacent to the actual school buildings, it has been necessary to find sites that were reasonably level and this factor also had to be taken into account in actual site selection.

Nursery schools, where possible, have been sited adjacent to Infant or Primary schools in order to assist the parent who has to take young children to school and also to allow for older children to accompany their smaller brothers and sisters to the nursery schools.

The secondary schools generally are placed on the outer fringe of the residential development areas. The children attending these schools should be capable of travelling further distances than could be expected of the primary group, and in addition it is expected that a large number will follow the existing practice of travelling to school by bicycle. It is therefore not so necessary to confine these schools to any particular residential unit. In the detailed planning of the residential areas adjacent to the schools it is hoped that the school buildings themselves will be sited in such positions as will enable them to make the fullest contribution to the whole architectural composition.

It should be noted that the numbers of school sites and their sizes were agreed with the Education Authorities on the basis of a target population of 36,000. The provisions made may need some modification if it is eventually decided that it is necessary to accommodate the maximum population of 39,000, the possibility of which is envisaged by the Corporation as stated earlier in this report.


There is a County Library in a building temporarily rented for this purpose near, but not in, the town centre. In consultation with the County Authorities it has been provisionally agreed that a permanent site for this central library shall be placed on the Campus in the town centre and will be incorporated in the general scheme.

A site for a branch library is to be provided in the S.E. area in the unit centre at Woodhall Green. Should it be found that there is a need for further branch libraries in the other unit centres it is suggested these should be located either adjacent to other social service buildings or incorporated in them.


The town at the moment is served by an existing cemetery situated off Hollybush Lane in the S.E. area. The plan provides for an extension to this existing cemetery and in addition a new site is provided in pleasant surroundings to the north of Rolls Wood on the eastern boundary of the new large playing fields area in the N.E. area. The site is on the periphery of the designated area and can be made easily accessible to the nearby road to Cole Green.

The Corporation is giving consideration to the question of the provision of a crematorium, and if one is required it will be sited in the vicinity of the new cemetery.




The existing industrial development of the town is mainly located in a well established industrial area lying adjacent to the east side of the main railway and stretching from the south end of Broadwater Road and crossing the Hertford branch line.

The majority of the larger factories are situated adjacent to the railway. All the manufacturing industries are located in this industrial area, the only exceptions of any importance being three in number.

The Broadwater Press and Cresta Silks are located immediately to the west of the main railway on the edge of the town centre. They were sited here because both deal directly with the local public. The Broadwater Press prints the local newspaper and also does a substantial amount of jobbing printing among its activities, while Cresta Silks, in addition to having a factory for dressmaking serving its retail shops elsewhere, has a shop attached to the factory. Provision has been made for both these factories to expand, and it is not proposed that they should be removed from their existing sites.

The third manufacturing industry outside the industrial area is a portion of Murphy Radio located in Lemsford Lane. This is purely a temporary arrangement arising out of the war, and the factory will be removed in the near future.

The main industrial area, in addition to accommodating manufacturing industries, also contains some service industries, such as a laundry, electricity undertaking, insurance office and some of the smaller builders. The largest building concern, Welwyn Builders, is located on the edge of the town centre near the Luton branch railway. It is intended that this should be moved in due course to the main industrial area.

In the planning of the existing industrial area the following considerations have determined the development:

(1) That no obnoxious industries were to be permitted. This made it possible to plan for the residential areas to abut on the boundaries of the industrial areas (though separated by a tree belt) without serious detriment to the amenities of the dwellings.

(2) Provision was made for the erection of a number of sectional factories available on rental terms so as to enable smaller concerns to commence business with the minimum of capital expenditure, and in order to attract new industries to the town. One of the largest concerns in the town started in a small sectional factory.

(3) In addition, provision was made for larger sites where established industries could build their own factories to their own special requirements and design.

(4) Considerable efforts were made to secure a variety of industries and to try to secure adequate opportunities of work for women as well as men.


In all there are about 8,300 persons employed in manufacturing industry in the town (of whom 8,000 work in the main industrial area). In addition, there are about 3,600 persons employed in retail trade, building and other service industries, in professional work and in agriculture and horticulture (of these, about 300 work in the service industries located in the main industrial area). Thus there are about 11,900 persons working in the town. Approximately two-thirds of these are men and boys and one-third women and girls.

The manufacturing industries are extremely varied, both as regards the nature of their work and product, and their size. The following table indicates this variety:

Firms Employing
Nature of Business
No. of Firms
Approx. Total
No. Employed
1,500 and 2,000
Radio, Plastics
400 and 500
Pharmaceutical, Grinding
Wheels, Breakfast Foods
200 and 300
Film Production, Aviation
100 and 200
Corsets, Combs, various
forms of Engineering, Dress
making, Chemicals
50 and 100
Printing, various forms of
food and of engineering
Under 50


In one respect the industry appears somewhat unbalanced. The number engaged in manufacturing industries, i.e., 8,300 is high, as compared with the 3,600 engaged in retail trade, service industries, agriculture, etc. This situation is to a considerable extent the result of the war.

Many of the existing manufacturing industries expanded during the war. Moreover, in certain cases, factories occupied by firms which were not employed on essential war work were requisitioned for other firms being decentralized from London for security reasons. Since the war some of the firms thus displaced have returned, while some of the newcomers have remained. There is therefore a considerable amount of overcrowding in certain of the factory premises. The total number engaged in manufacturing industry is now about 75 per cent higher than it was before the war, whilst the amount of factory space has increased to a much smaller extent. On the other hand, service industry has not increased substantially. In fact before the war there were over 1,000 building trade operatives employed in the town, whereas there are now less than half that number. If the need for further building trade labour was met, this would cause a considerable increase in the number engaged in service industry.

The total number of persons employed in the town, namely 11,900, is very high as compared with the present population of 18,200. It is obvious, therefore, that there are many more people coming from the surrounding districts and elsewhere to work in the town, than living in the town and working elsewhere. This, of course, is reflected in the large demand for houses among those actually working in the town.


The number of persons employed in the industrial area is about 8,300, arrived at as follows:

Total number engaged in Manufacturing industry
   Deduct those working in factories outside the industrial area
   Add those engaged in Service industry located in the industrial area


The net area actually developed for industry, including estate roads but not main roads and main railway sidings, amounts to 154 acres. The net industrial density, therefore, is approximately 53 persons per acre.

It is roughly calculated that a further 23 acres would be required to accommodate workers already in the industrial area who are working in overcrowded conditions. When this congestion has been relieved, the existing industrial density will be brought down to about 47 persons per acre.


The Plan provides for a substantial extension of the existing industrial area north-west and north-east. These extensions, together with the infilling of sites vacant in the existing developed area, will provide an additional 159 acres. Of this total some 81 acres are already leased or under option or allocated to various existing industrial concerns. About 23 acres of this are required to relieve congestion in existing factories, and 2 acres for the transfer of Welwyn Builders and the depot for the Urban District Council, at present in temporary premises outside the industrial area.

Thus out of the additional 159 acres about 35 are required for those already working in the town; 46 acres for additional workers of existing firms, leaving about 78 acres available for new industries, mostly to be decentralized from London.

Thus it may be calculated roughly that the additional number of persons ultimately employed in the main industrial area will be made up as follows:

Now employed in the existing area
   After relieving con-
   gestion and transfer-
Transfer of Welwyn Builders and
   ring Welwyn Builders
U.D.C. Depot, say
   and U.D.C. Depot
Further expansion of existing in-
dustries on land under option
On the balance of the land avail-
able (mostly new industries, pos-
sibly still further expansion of
existing industries).



This gives an overall net industrial density of 44 persons per acre. It is assumed that the new development will be at a net industrial density of approximately 40, owing to the increase in requirements for internal car parking and for welfare services in connection with factories.


A further new industrial area of approximately 23 acres is proposed under the Plan, lying in the south-east area to the south of Twentieth-Mile Bridge. This area consists partly of made up land and of a disused brickfield, and is served by a siding. It is proposed that this area should be used to accommodate such undertakings as coal and firewood merchants, smaller builders' supply yards and various miscellaneous small service undertakings. The number of persons actually employed in this area will be comparatively small. It is suitably placed for the purposes indicated between the railway and the proposed industrial road. On the other hand, it would be of comparatively little value for any other purpose. It should be pointed out also that it is in a position where it can he screened by a tree belt from residential development. Thus the total area definitely allocated to industry is 336 acres.


Contiguous to the main industrial area, some 48 acres have been reserved for additional industry should this bc found necessary. In the event of its not being required, it will remain as open space and be used either for agriculture or other purposes. The Corporation has thought it desirable to have this reserve industrial area, which may be required partly for industries which cannot be located at Hatfield owing to reasons explained in the Corporation's memorandum.


Whilst it is obviously impossible to make an accurate forecast of the number of persons who will be employed in the completed town, the following very approximate estimate is submitted:

In the main industrial area (11,000 Manufacturing, 2,900 Service etc.) 13,900
In the secondary industrial area (Service industries, mostly Depots) 200
In the two Manufacturing firms who will remain (and expand) on the edge of the town's centre 400
In the retail trade, service industries, professional, agricultural and horticultural work in other areas of the town 5,500

From the above it will be seen that thc total of those engaged in manufacturing industries amounts to:

In the main industrial area 11,000
In the town centre 400

All other forms of employment, including retail trade, service, professional, agricultural etc:

In the main industrial area 2,900
In the secondary industrial area 200
Elsewhere 5,500

It is estimated that, of the total ultimately employed, 57 per cent will be engaged in manufacture and 43 per cent in other forms of employment.

These figures may be compared with the present percentages, namely manufacturing 70 per cent and other employment 30 per cent.

The above calculations are based on the assumption that the reserve industrial area of 48 acres will not be required.


In view of the recently published report on sand and gravel workings, the Corporation have very seriously considered the allocation of areas from which sand and gravel can be extracted in order that the construction of thc new town, and perhaps the work in adjoining areas, may not be delayed. From the surveys made and information received it would seem that the areas richest in gravel lie towards the eastern boundary of the N.E. area in thc vicinity of Panshanger Airfield and Attimore Hall. The Master Plan shows an area of approximately 200 acres for the working of gravel and the dumping of refuse. In order that the gravel workings shall not leave permanent scars on the surface, the Corporation propose, if it is permitted to extract gravel from this area, that a definite development programme be instituted before any workings are allowed to commence. The programme will allow for the extraction of gravel from four adjacent areas and work will only be permitted in one area at a time. As the gravel extraction proceeds, the reinstatement and rehabilitation of the surface in the area being worked will follow; by this means it is hoped to confine the gravel workings to reasonably small areas and that, when the reinstatement takes place, the areas which have been worked will immediately become available for another use. For example, in the largest area to be worked, it may be pro posed that reinstatement shall take place on the lines to be suggested by a golf course architect in order that the major construction works necessary for the formation of a golf course in this particular area shall be done by the persons responsible for the gravel extraction. One of the areas suggested for gravel work will be used as a refuse tip by the Urban District Council, but here again it is considered that, by controlling the refuse tipping and the reinstatement of the soil, it will be possible for even this particular area eventually to be brought back into the playing fields area.




The Master Plan provides for two main north-south spine roads, running approximately parallel with, and on each side of, the main line railway.

The road on the west is an extension both to the north and south of the existing road known as Parkway and is intended as a major residential traffic road, terminating at the southern and northern entrances to the town.

The road on the east of the railway is the main industrial traffic route and makes connection in the north with the Hertford-Welwyn Road (B.1000) and in the south with the North Orbital Road at a point where it is convenient to make a suitable link with the Hatfield new town. This industrial traffic road is linked to Parkway at the southern end by a branch road crossing the railway at the Twentieth-Mile Bridge and thence continues to the Great North Road. The suggested siting of this road makes it possible for industrial traffic entering or leaving the town by the Great North Road, from either the northern or southern extremities, to reach or leave the factory area without passing through any residential development.

In the N.E. residential area, particular care has been taken in siting the link road to the industrial route, in order to deter industrial traffic from trying to get to the Great North Road by passing through residential areas.

The junctions of main roads with trunk roads have already been dealt with in my description of the plan. Apart from the modification of some road junctions and improvements to bridge crossings, no major changes are suggested to the existing internal road pattern.

The new estate roads are shown sited to fit in with the existing landscape and to give good access to the unit centres, schools, etc., and will be supplemented, wherever possible, with footpaths to provide alternative, and sometimes shorter, routes to the focal points. Cycle tracks will be provided in the N.E., N.W., and S.E. areas to give additional links to the industrial area.

There are at present thirty-two miles of existing roads within the designated area. It is estimated that approximately a further thirty-three miles of all categories of roads will be required for the ultimate development of the town.


Diagrams of Traffic Volume

(click image to enlarge)



The Master Plan envisages the construction of a new road bridge over the main line railway to link the N.W. and N.E. residential units; the improvement and widening of the existing connection under the viaduct, again forming a link between the N.E. and N.W. area; the retention of Black Fan Bridge as a pedestrian and cycle crossing; the improvement to the approaches to, and the widening of, Hunters Bridge and Twentieth-Mile Bridge; the construction of a bridge under the Luton railway to link the existing development in the N.W. and S.W. areas; the construction of an additional bridge under the Hertford-Welwyn railway to take the new industrial traffic road; a further crossing of this railway line in a more easterly direction to provide another connection between the S.E. area and the industrial zone.


Consultations have taken place with officials of the London Transport Executive and proposals for bus routings have been suggested which envisage bus routes passing through residential areas and linking up unit centres. Thus the routes follow a radial rather than a circular pattern. The proposals also provide for an efficient service to the town centre and industrial area.

The town is at the moment served by four bus routes and two Green Line coach routes. The bus service provides links to Hertford, Hitchin, Hatfield, Barnet and St Albans, and the coaches to Woking and Chertsey, via London. The new proposals contemplate extensions to some of the existing services and the provision of new routes to serve the new areas and provide a further link with Hatfield.

A central bus station is to be placed in the town centre, adjacent to the railway station. The Green Line and terminating buses will halt at this station whilst some of the other services will pass through, thus providing a link with the railway and a convenient changing point for passengers. In addition to the central bus station it is suggested that bus parks should be provided at Woodhall centre and adjacent to the administrative centre in the factory area.


The existing railway station is situated on the eastern edge of the central area and is served by the North East Region main line railway and the branch railways to Luton and Hertford. The majority of the larger factories on the east side of the main line are linked to the marshalling yards by sidings, and it will be possible to provide further sidings, if they are required, to the new industrial area. The railway authorities contemplate certain alterations and improvements to the footbridge approaches from the booking office to the platforms. Apart from provision for possible extension to the station buildings themselves and a diversion in the routing of railway delivery lorries, the only planning proposals which affect the railways are the construction of new bridges over and under the railways, improvement to existing road bridges, and the central bus station and railway car park proposed to be located on land in the ownership of British Railways.

Welwyn North Station, also on the main line, lies approximately 400 yards to the north of the designated area boundary and this station is reasonably well situated to serve some of the proposed northern residential development.

At the moment the railway is spanned by a footbridge which links the east end of Howardsgate with the west end of the cul-de-sac called Hydeway. This footbridge provides an additional link between the east and west side of the town and is much used. The railway charge a toll of 1d. for pedestrians crossing the bridge and it is suggested that, if some means could be found to allow this bridge to be used as an ordinary crossing point without charge, it would be a very great convenience to the residents and save quite a number using Hunters Bridge.




The Urban District Council is the undertaker for the present urban area. The existing reservoir capacity of about three million gallons is slightly under three days' supply and, before the town is completed, this capacity is to be doubled. The water is obtained from boreholes situated near the River Mimram about one mile from the reservoir. Additional pumping machinery will also be required and a water tower will have to be erected to supply some of the future development, which will lie on ground too high to be supplied by the present and future reservoir.

There are at present 28 miles of water mains, not including any pipes under 3 in. diameter, and for future development 7 miles of 6 in. main and upwards will be required.


There are at present 26 miles of low-pressure gas mains and 3½ miles of high-pressure mains serving the existing town. Although no details of minor mains have been prepared, the future supply is to be catered for by a new 12 in. high-pressure main to be laid on the Great North Road along the whole western boundary of the town, amounting to about 2 miles.

The length of existing electricity cables is approximately 90 miles and 30½ miles of main cables have already been schemed out for future extensions.

The gas and electricity undertakings anticipate no difficulty in supplying the full requirements for the new town.



The surface and foul water drainage of the existing town of Welwyn Garden City are on separate systems and it is intended to continue this principle of drainage for the complete town.


The north-eastern and north-western sections of the town lie in the water shed of the River Mimram and the southern portions in the water shed of the River Lee. It is not anticipated that any unusual difficulties will arise in the capacity of those two streams to deal with the amount of water which will flow into them.


The sewage of the present town is treated at Black Fan Sewage Works, administered by the Urban District Council. A scheme for the extension of these works is at present being considered by the Ministry of Health. This scheme is intended to increase the present capacity of one million gallons per day, which at present is producing an unsatisfactory effluent, to 1½ million gallons, which will improve the standard of the effluent.

This scheme should enable the development of the town to be carried forward until the main sewers of the Lee Valley or Colne Valley Sewerage Boards have been constructed, when it is anticipated that the Black Fan Works will no longer be necessary.

Owing to the proximity of Hatfield, it is felt that the problem of the future sewage disposal in the two towns is interconnected. The following three alternative proposals for dealing with this are at present being investigated from an administrative and financial angle:

(a)   To drain Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield to the proposed Lee Valley Trunk Sewers.
(b)   To drain both towns to the Colne Valley Trunk Sewer.
(c)   To drain Welwyn Garden City and the northern part of Hatfield to the Lee Valley Trunk Sewers, and the southern part of Hatfield to the Colne Valley Trunk Sewer.


The Urban District Council undertakes the responsibility for refuse disposal.

This is at present being satisfactorily carried out by the method of controlled tipping. They have recently obtained a site which will fulfil all the requirements for many years, in addition to which there are many other suitable sites for future tipping within reasonable distance of the town.


There are eight miles of telephone cables at present in the existing town and inquiries are being made of the London Telecommunications Region to ascertain definitely whether the joint Post Office and Telephone buildings at Welwyn Garden City, plus adjoining land, will in fact be adequate for ultimate postal as well as telephone requirements. It is hoped to persuade the Post Office to carry the telephone system as much as possible underground, thus avoiding unsightly poles and overhead wiring.


The Corporation have considered the question of applying a scheme to the whole town, but in view of the fact that the town is already half complete it is felt that full advantage could not be taken of such a scheme. Consideration is being given, however, to the possibility of installing localized heating schemes in the town centre, in parts of the industrial area and in certain of the new residential areas. The scheme of six blocks of flats now under construction for the Corporation does in fact include a local heating scheme served by one central boiler-house situated under one of the blocks of fiats.




In the Master Plan provision is made for the areas contained in the following schedule to remain unbuilt upon:

(i) Small Play-spaces and Allot-
ments contiguous to Residen-
tial Development
(ii) Playing Fields and Sports
(iii) Golf Course (existing)
(iv) Woodlands
(v) Parklands, Riverside Park
(vi) Green Ways
(vii) Main Allotments
(viii) Agricultural, etc.

In addition to the above acreage there will also remain unbuilt upon, and ultimately available for agriculture, another golf course or some other recreational purpose, the following areas:

The reserve area for Gravel workings which, as stated in Section G, it is proposed should be gradually reinstated as particular portions of the area are worked out.
205 acres
The area of the Panshanger Airfield which the Corporation consider should ultimately be no longer used for this purpose.
231 acres
The site reserved for a major hospital, in the event of its being ultimately decided not to use it for this purpose.
41 acres
Reserve industrial area, in the event of its being ultimately found not to be required for this purpose.
48 acres
In the event of its being decided only to have a 36,500 population instead of 39,000 an approximate area now designated for residential purposes of about
83 acres

It should further be pointed out that the school playing fields are not included in the above figures but the sites of the schools are based upon the assumption that these will be substantial.

The area included in the schedule itself, namely 1,546 acres, represents, in relation to a 39,000 population, approximately 40 acres per 1,000 population.

In the Master Plan the areas of the small play spaces etc. (Item 1) are coloured in with the residential areas within which they are located, but I have decided to colour in one shade of green all land included in Items 2-8. By this means I think it is easier to read from the Plan the value of the open areas in relation to the buiIt-up

As will be seen from the Plan, the majority of the larger open spaces are on the periphery of the development. In a town of the projected size of Welwyn Garden City, where distances of travel are so small, there is no hardship involved in this proposed disposition of green areas. In addition, if the town is to achieve the urban character which I think so essential, then the built-up area must be as compact as circumstances will permit. The introduction of large open spaces into the residential development would of necessity break down this compactness and reduce the chances of obtaining the urban character.


One of the planning principles adopted in the existing development has been the provision of green areas off quiet roads, and play spaces adjacent to housing, for the use of young children. It is there they can play in reasonable safety and also be under the surveillance of their parents. This principle has also been used for the new areas. In the areas coloured on the Plan as proposed residential, allowance has been made in the acreage shown to accommodate these play spaces for the very young. Also in the residential areas, and contiguous to the actual dwellings, it is proposed to provide space for tennis courts, bowling greens, etc. for the use of nearby residents who, it is anticipated, may form their own small local clubs and help to maintain the courts. Some small allotments are also included behind the houses.

The total allowance made is approximately three acres per 1,000 population to cover (a) small play spaces for children; (b) areas for tennis courts and bowling greens; (c) roadside greens; (d) minor parkways; and (e) twenty-three acres of small allotments.


The areas reserved for organized games (including golf course) amount to 334 acres. As will be seen from the schedule in paragraph 47, these areas are not divided at all equally between the various sectors, there being much more in the N.E. area and S.W. than in the other two. It should be pointed out, however, that the playing fields in the N.E. area are right on the border of the S.E. area and were selected because the land is specially suitable for the purpose. The area is level with a sub soil suitable for the construction of playing fields and, owing to its position and present use, it will not be difficult to use part of the area as playing fields at an early date and to develop the remainder as and when the demand requires. It is suggested that in this area some of the larger industrial concerns could have their own sports ground and that other local cricket, football and hockey clubs could use the land for their own purposes. On the other hand the land in the N.W. area is so undulating as to make provision of any major playing fields impracticable, especially as about fifty acres of the only suitable land are required for the two secondary schools in that area. Consideration might be given to the possibility of these secondary schools' playing fields being made available for the use of adults, at any rate during vacations.



The plan provides for the retention of practically all the woodlands within the designated area, including Sherrards Wood in the N.W. area. In the green belt between the towns lies "the Commons", a large wooded area, the northern edge of which marks the southern designated area boundary. In planning the residential development in the S.E. area I took fully into account the value of this wood to residents in this part of the new town but the acreage is not included as it lies outside the designated area for Welwyn Garden City.


The Riverside Park in the S.W. area forms part of the green belt between the two towns. The existing swimming pool will be improved and the land bordering the banks of the Lee is to remain in its natural state to make a place where it will be possible to picnic or walk in peace and quiet. The term "parkland" is also used to mean fields and trees in their natural state - places where it would be possible to sit or walk, but where, owing to the broken nature of the ground, it would not be possible to play organized games. Such an area is provided in the new industrial area for the use of factory workers who wish to sit or walk during lunch-time. It is not intended that these areas should be allowed to go under the plough but that they should be treated as "Common" land.


These green ways bring the countryside into the residential areas and make it possible to walk into or out of the town in natural surroundings. In the S.E. area the existing small water-courses have formed the basis of the planning of these green ways. They also provide alternative walking routes to the unit centre. These water courses carry the surface water in this area to the River Lee. It is hoped that the water courses can be left open but if, as may happen, obstructions are placed in them, it will probably be necessary to have them piped.



At the time of the survey at the beginning of September 1948, the situation regarding allotments in the existing built-up area was as follows: permanent allotments, five acres; temporary allotments about thirty acres.

Consultations have taken place with the Welwyn Garden City Urban District Council and the local Horticultural Society regarding the provision of more permanent allotments in the existing town. A considerable number of the temporary allotments were started during the 1939-45 war and the majority of them are on ground which will be required for building purposes. If more permanent allotments are provided in the existing built-up area they can, generally speaking, only be created at the expense of open space which is or was intended for another use, e.g. small play spaces for children. The Corporation have given considerable thought to this and the matter is still under review.


In the new development areas I have provided for additional permanent allotments of two types: (1) small areas contiguous to particular groups of buildings. These allotments will be included in the detailed layout plans for areas of housing, and twenty-three acres are provided for this in the new development areas; (2) larger areas where it is suggested communal tool and potting sheds, greenhouses, stores, etc. could be erected and where water would be laid on. The provisional area allocated for this purpose is thirty-six acres.

Thus in all there will be:

(a) Local allotments in existing residential area
5 acres
(b) Local allotments in new residential area
23 acres
(c) Main allotment areas
36 acres

64 acres


The area of land left within the designated area which it will be possible to farm is approximately 470 acres, mainly in the S.E. and N.E. areas. Particular attention was paid to the planning in the area of Woodhall Farm in the S.E. in order to retain as much as possible of the home fields of this farm, If the Panshanger Airfield ceases to be used as such this will add 231 acres to the land available for agriculture, and it is possible that some of the land reserved for gravel workings or the reserve industrial area may also be available for this purpose.




The table of proposed land use, submitted below, is based upon the assumption that it is found necessary to accommodate the full 39,000 population and that the reserve industrial area of forty-eight acres is in fact required for industry.

Based upon this assumption, the first column of figures shows the proposed use of the land in the whole designated area. Only one figure calls for special comment. It will be seen that the figure for "Major Roads" - No. 9 - is twenty-eight acres. This acreage includes the total length of the major industrial road on the east side of the railway; but, on the west side, it includes only those parts of the main residential road between the Great North Road and the fork over the Twentieth-Mile Bridge to the south, and between the boundary of the built-up area and the Welwyn-Hertford road (B.1000) to the north. The acreage of the central portion of this road, which is not intended as a through road, is distributed between the residential area, town centre, etc., through which it passes. All the other roads shown on the plan are distributed according to the zones through which they pass.

The second column of figures shows the area of land within the urban perimeter. Sports fields are included as being within the urban perimeter even if they, in fact, lie on the boundary of the built-up area, as they are required for a specifically urban use. Portions of woodlands and parklands which are surrounded by, or form a wedge into, built-up areas are also included as within the urban perimeter. On the other hand, it will be seen that, in addition to agricultural land, areas reserved for gravel workings and Panshanger Aerodrome are counted as being outside the urban perimeter.


Designated Area
Urban Perimeter
Urban Perimeter
1.   Residential
2.   Industrial
3.   Industrial Reserve
4.   Schools
5.   Unit Centres (Including Town centre)
6.   Sewage Disposal
7.   Waterworks and Reservoir
8.   Cemeteries
9.   Major Roads
10. Railway Land
11. Playing Fields and Stadium
12. Playspaces, Allotments, etc., contiguous
      to residential development
13. Golf Course
14. Woodlands
15. Parklands and Riverside Park
16. Green Ways
17. Major Allotment Areas
18. Agricultural
19. Gravel Workings
20. Panshanger Airfield
21. Hospital Site


The above figures give an overall density for the urban area of 14.4. If it is eventually decided that the population shall be limited to 36,500 and that the reserve industrial area is not required, the area within the urban perimeter will be reduced as follows:

Industrial reserve area
48 acres
Reduction in residential area
83 acres

131 acres

This will bring the total area within the urban perimeter down to 2,571 acres and will give an overall density of 14.1.




Tucked into my copy of the report, but not attached, is a large blueprint 30" by 25". This blueprint has the same title as plan 3 in the report itself, but is quite different and may have nothing to do with the report. There is a faint date - JUNE 1954 - visible in the enlarged image just below the title. The file holding the enlarged image is quite large - over 2 megabytes - and will take a few moments to download.

(click image to enlarge)