The New Towns Act of 1946 led to the development 'new tows' to alleviate housing shortages and relocate populations in poor or bombed-out housing following World War 2. Many new towns were developed in the UK, often developed near or around small historic villages, and each initially placed under the supervision of a development corporation. In the North East of England the new towns were Newton Aycliffe (1947), Peterlee (1948) and Washington (1964). In addition, whist not officially designated new towns, there was substantial planned expansion of existing towns (e.g. Cramlington and Killingworth) to provide accommodation for "overspill" from densely populated areas.