Town Planning Review

Democracy and informal policy making: planning appeals in Scotland

Town Planning Review (2019), 90, (1), 81–98.

Abstract

Through a study of two planning appeals regarding student housing in Edinburgh, this paper demonstrates the process by which new policy is effectively created ‘under the radar’, without the expected oversight by elected politicians and without the rigour, accountability and democratic legitimacy demanded of policy making. The paper highlights tensions between local and central government, between efficiency and democracy, and between discretion and rule-based systems. It argues that by an excessive use of discretion, Scottish government Reporters not only interpret policies, but, in effect, make them.

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Kaminer, Tahl