The Short Story of Livingston

You don’t hear the term ‘planned community’ very often these days, but in essence there are at least thirty of them around the United Kingdom. Some are now so old that people have simply forgotten about them being such because they have become an integral part of the country as a community. Places such as Livingston, for example, which is actually fifty-one years old as a town. It was first designated in 1962 and therefore even fifty-years on it is classed as a ‘new town’ simply because its inception was a result of the New Towns Act of 1946. The Act was designed to populate otherwise sparse areas of the country to entice people to move out of the bigger cities and into the smaller communities to help them grow. They were enticed using cheap purchase prices for houses or cheap council rents that made them feel far better off financially than they did in London.

There were also a new wave of local jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers as well as opportunities for new businesses and enterprises. When Livingston was still a building site glass suppliers in Livingston were scarce but because of all the homes being built, it encouraged new glaziers and other construction businesses to set up in the area to replace and supply goods to the new communities.

Although Glasgow saw some bombing during the war it wasn’t completely destroyed to the point where a total rebuild was needed. However, as with many other areas, it did suffer because of over-crowding and when the New Towns Act came in Livingston was chosen for its location, a mere twenty or so miles west of the Capital, Edinburgh. Livingston existed as a village prior to 1962 and its main economy focused on shale oil. However, mining ceased in 1962 which coincided with the redevelopment of the area. The New Town was built around the village, which still exists as the old town.

The Mandate Expires

Until 1997 Livingston was controlled by the quango that was set up to manage it. The Livingston Development Corporation had a mandate that expired in 1997 and the town was then handed over to the West Lothian Council who now administrate it. Browse the website for more information.


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