Town Planning Review

Localism, down-scaling and the strategic dilemmas confronting planning in England

Town Planning Review (2013), 84, (5), 563–582.

Abstract

The planning system in England has been subject to dramatic shifts since 2010. The previous government's preference for a strong regional focus in land-use strategy has been substituted with an emphasis on local control and responsibility. This has involved a ‘down-scaling’ of the system, with the revocation of ‘regional spatial strategies’ and a re-emphasis of the primacy of local government plans. It has also brought a ‘localisation’ of plan-making to a neighbourhood scale and a new role for community actors within local development planning. The shift in scale and focus has been accompanied by concerns over the system's ability to achieve broader and longer-term spatial objectives. Drawing on in-depth interviews with senior planning officers, this paper reflects on the risks that reform poses to the achievement of strategic planning objectives, looking in particular at housing delivery.

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ADAMS, D. (2011), ‘The wicked problem of housing development in the UK’, Housing Studies, 26, 951-60. ‘The wicked problem of housing development in the UK’ Housing Studies 26 951 60 Google Scholar

BARKER, K. (2004), Review of Housing Supply - Securing Stability: Delivering our Future Housing Needs, London, HM Treasury. Review of Housing Supply - Securing Stability: Delivering our Future Housing Needs Google Scholar

BISHOP, J. (2011), ‘What chance for neighbourhood plans?’, Town and Country Planning, 80, 72-76. ‘What chance for neighbourhood plans?’ Town and Country Planning 80 72 76 Google Scholar

COAFFEE, J. and HEADLAM, N. (2008), ‘Pragmatic localism uncovered: the search for locally contingent solutions to national reform agendas’, Geoforum, 39, 1585-99. ‘Pragmatic localism uncovered: the search for locally contingent solutions to national reform agendas’ Geoforum 39 1585 99 Google Scholar

CONSERVATIVE PARTY (2009), Control Shift: Returning Power to Local Communities, London, Conservative Party. Google Scholar

COOMBES, M. (2009), ‘English housing market policy: some inconvenient truths?’ Planning Practice and Research, 24, 211-31. ‘English housing market policy: some inconvenient truths?’ Planning Practice and Research 24 211 31 Google Scholar

DAHL, R. A. (1989), Democracy and its Critics, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press. Democracy and its Critics Google Scholar

DAVIES, J. S. (2008), ‘Double-devolution or double-dealing? The local government White Paper and the Lyons Review’, Local Government Studies, 34, 3-22. ‘Double-devolution or double-dealing? The local government White Paper and the Lyons Review’ Local Government Studies 34 3 22 Google Scholar

DENNIS, N. (1972), Public Participation and Planners' Blight, London, Faber and Faber. Public Participation and Planners' Blight Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2010), Chief Planning Officer Letter: Revocation of Regional Strategies, 6 July 2010, London, DCLG. Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2011), A Plain Guide to the Localism Act - Update, London, DCLG. Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2012), National Planning Policy Framework, London, DCLG. Google Scholar

FOUCAULT, M. (1982), ‘The subject and power’, Critical Inquiry, 8, 777-95. ‘The subject and power’ Critical Inquiry 8 777 95 Google Scholar

GALLENT, N., HAMIDUDDIN, I. and MADEDDU, M. (2011), ‘Selecting and Allocating Sites for Housing Development: Politics, Expedient Sites, Regional Planning and Localism’, FiBRE - Findings in Built and Rural Environments, London, RICS Education Trust. FiBRE - Findings in Built and Rural Environments Google Scholar

GALLENT, N. and ROBINSON, S. (2012), Neighbourhood Planning: Communities, Networks and Governance, London, Policy Press. Neighbourhood Planning: Communities, Networks and Governance Google Scholar

HAMIDUDDIN, I. and GALLENT, N. (2012), ‘Limits to growth: the challenge of new housing in underbounded districts’, Planning Practice and Research, 27, 513-30. ‘Limits to growth: the challenge of new housing in underbounded districts’ Planning Practice and Research 27 513 30 Google Scholar

HELD, D. (2003), ‘Cosmopolitanism: globalization tamed?’, Review of International Studies, 29, 465-80. ‘Cosmopolitanism: globalization tamed?’ Review of International Studies 29 465 80 Google Scholar

JESSOP, B. (2003), ‘Governance and metagovernance: on reflexivity, requisite variety, and requisite irony’, in Bang, H. (ed.), Governance, as Social and Political Communication, Manchester, Manchester University Press. Governance, as Social and Political Communication Google Scholar

LOWNDES, V. (2001), ‘Rescuing Aunt Sally: taking institutional theory seriously in urban politics’, Urban Studies, 38, 1953-71. ‘Rescuing Aunt Sally: taking institutional theory seriously in urban politics’ Urban Studies 38 1953 71 Google Scholar

LYONS, M. (2007), Place-Shaping: A Shared Ambition for the Future of Local Government: Executive Summary, London, The Stationery Office. Place-Shaping: A Shared Ambition for the Future of Local Government: Executive Summary Google Scholar

MARSH, D. and RHODES, R. (1992), ‘Policy networks in British government: a critique of existing approaches’, Marsh, D. and Rhodes, R. (eds), Policy Networks in British Government, Oxford, Clarendon Press. Policy Networks in British Government Google Scholar

MORPHET, J. (2004), ‘The new localism’, Town and Country Planning, 73, 291-93. ‘The new localism’ Town and Country Planning 73 291 93 Google Scholar

RTPI (ROYAL TOWN PLANNING INSTITUTE) ET AL. (2010), Letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and local Government on ‘Larger than Local Planning’, London, RTPI. Google Scholar

STURZAKER, J. (2011), ‘Can community empowerment reduce opposition to housing? Evidence from rural England’, Planning Practice and Research, 26, 555-70. ‘Can community empowerment reduce opposition to housing? Evidence from rural England’ Planning Practice and Research 26 555 70 Google Scholar

TETLOW KING PLANNING (ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL HOUSING FEDERATION) (2011), Updated Research on the Impact of the Intended Revocation of Regional Strategies on Proposed Housing Land Targets in England, January 2011 (Supplementary Evidence to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee Inquiry on the Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies). Google Scholar

TCPA (TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ASSOCIATION) (2011), Policy Analysis of Housing and Planning Reform, London, TCPA. Google Scholar

WILLIAMSON, O. E. (1995), ‘Transaction cost economics and organization theory’, Williamson, O. E. (ed.), Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 207-56. Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond 207 56 Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Gallent, Nick

Hamiduddin, Iqbal

Madeddu, Manuela