Town Planning Review

London governance and the politics of neighbourhood planning: a case for investigation

Town Planning Review (2020), 91, (1), 1–20.


The Localism Act 2011 has successfully devolved planning powers to over 2,500 English communities, involving 14 million people, with over 700 ‘made’ neighbourhood plans legitimised by referendum. In London, however, there are less than one-tenth of the made plans than in the rest of England. Institutional resistance and policy choices may be implicated. Two national studies of neighbourhood planning are reviewed. The role of the local authority is found to be a crucial factor in determining progress, and issues of social deprivation and unequal access are highlighted. Theorisation is considered by reference to a range of academic studies of localism and neighbourhood planning. Distinctions made between ‘representative’ and ‘community’ localism, and objections to anti-political effects, are noted. There has been remarkably little research into borough governance and neighbourhood planning in the capital. Based upon evidence of anomalous and differentiated governance practice, a study in London is called for.

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Author details

Pycock, Graham