In 1951 Houghton Regis  was a small village. It was substantially expanded to accommodate London overspill population under the New and Expanded Towns Scheme and its population increased from less than 3,000 in 1951 to 10,490 in 1971. The planned expansion of Houghton Regis continued after the conclusion of the overspill agreement on land which was earmarked for such purposes during the operation of the scheme. As a result and despite a population loss to Dunstable as boundaries changed, the population of Houghton Regis reached 14,500 by 1981 and continued to grow, albeit at a slower rate, as committed housing land was released for development. The 2001 population was 16,970.

Boundary of Houghton Regis Parish: Larger

By 2010, the Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Luton conurbation had a population of 235,146 and a workforce in excess of 131,825 and remained one of the largest manufacturing centres in the south-east outside London.

Houghton Regis Town Centre is small and has more of a local feel to it, than do surrounding towns. National chains with a presence include Morrisons, and Poundstretcher. These are augmented with a range of vitally important local shops and other services for the residents of Houghton Regis. The library, health centre, and community centre in Bedford Square was substantially rebuilt and reopened in 2009.  A large site opposite Bedford Square Shopping Centre, formerly occupied by a Co-op store up until an arson attack in 2006, (and by a smaller Co-op store up to the summer of 2014), is due to be redeveloped by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Explore the Timeline For Houghton Regis

All Saints Church, occupies a commanding place in the centre of Houghton Regis town centre. A church mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 occupied the same site. The chancel, nave and aisles were originally built in the early part of the 14th century. The tower was built in the 15th century.