Commission for the New Towns
The Commission for the New Towns (CNT) was set up under Part II of the New Towns Act 1959 and was launched in October 1961. It was established to manage the property of the New Towns and Urban Development Corporations and Housing Action Trusts transferred to it.
The Commission inherited the work of the new town development corporations, which were appointed by the New Towns Act of 1946 to help the reconstruction process after the Second World War.
The development corporations, established by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government which was responsible for general housing problems and the expansion of existing towns, were empowered to purchase land for new town development. Stevenage was the first designated new town in November 1946; others including Crawley, Hemel Hempstead, Harlow and Welwyn Garden City followed shortly.
The functions of the Commission for the New Towns were to take over the development of new towns from the development corporations, following the completion of initial stages of development, and then to manage the commercial and industrial assets of the new towns. Land purchased by the corporations was transferred to the commission for this purpose; the Commission acted as landowner on behalf of the nation.
In 1979, the powers of the commission were extended to include the selling of industrial and commercial premises, and the completion of outstanding contracts entered into by the Development Corporations. These enhanced objectives, and the powers of disposal of the commission, are defined in the New Towns and Urban Development Act 1985.
In 1999 the Commission for the New Towns (CRT) joined with the Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA) to form English Partnerships, although it remains a separate legal entity.
Urban Regeneration Agency
The Urban Regeneration Agency (URA) was established under Part III of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. It came into existence and took over City Grant on 10 November 1993, following Parliamentary approval of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (Commencement and Transitional Provisions No 3) Order 1993. The Agency became fully operational on 1 April 1994 when it took over Derelict Land Grant and English Estates under the provisions of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (Commencement No 4) Order 1994.
The overall aim of the Agency is to secure the regeneration of areas of need through the reclamation, development or redevelopment of land and buildings. Whilst concentrating on the regeneration of land it will, wherever possible, operate within a broader regeneration network working with local and regional partners, aiming to tackle the problems of an area in the round. Its programme will address the need for land for a variety of purposes, including housing, industrial and commercial premises, the attraction of inward investment, infrastructure, leisure, recreation and environmental impacts.
English Partnerships was formed in 1999 when the Commission for the New Towns (CNT) merged with the Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA). Its core function is to redevelop urban areas in order to provide affordable housing and sustainable growth. Although CNT and URA trade as English Partnerships, they remained separate legal entities. On 1 December 2008, the powers of English Partnerships passed to a successor body, the new Homes and Communities Agency.