SPECIAL events have been launched to mark the 50th anniversary of Runcorn New Town.

Highlights include an exhibition featuring archive material, scale models of the new town estates restored by Liverpool Museum, and community screenings of a 1974 documentary featuring rare footage.

Halton Clr Dave Cargill, board member for community safety, one of the residents who moved to the new town from Liverpool,  said: “Around 30,000 people came to Runcorn, but it's important to point out that they didn't all come en masse from Liverpool. People applied individually to come here and you had to have a job.

"Now, about 45,000 people live here, and a lot has happened over the years.”

Professor Peter Batey, Lever Professor of town and regional planning at Liverpool University was guest speaker at the launch event.

He gave a history of the new town movement and why they came about, explored the migration of people into new towns and their role in society and outlined the situation today.

Former staff of the Runcorn Development Corporation who helped plan and build the new town, housing associations, former Runcorn Tenants Federation representatives, and past and present council staff and councillors attended the event.

Following a screening of the 1974 Canadian Film Board documentary on the new town, the council’s Chief Executive, David Parr, spoke about the future prospects of Runcorn

Mr Parr said: “Runcorn, as part of Halton, can look forward to a strong period of growth. The Mersey Gateway project, both its construction and wider regeneration opportunities will have major economic benefits for both sides of the river and beyond.

“Job creation at the logistic hub 3MG and the world-class research facilities at Sci-Tech Daresbury will be a further boast to the local economy and stimulate new housing and also investment within our town centres.

“With all this happening, it might not be too long before we realise the New Town Masterplan vision for Runcorn to have a population of 100,000.”

For details of the 50th anniversary events go to visithalton.com.