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Localism and the Reform of the Planning System in England

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simin Davoudi


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In recent decades, governments of different persuasions have tended to indulge in a new "initiation ritual" on their entry to the White Hall The ritual is planning-bashing. Since the first planning Act into force in 1947. planners have been frequently blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong particularly with the economy Strikingly similar assertions have been used by governments to describe the perceived and actual deficiencies of the planning system and to justify its reform. In the 2000s, the pace cif reforms reached a record breaking height as planning experienced three "radical" changes in 2004, 2008 and 2011. The latter was initiated as soon as the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Coalition Government took office in May 2010. Like many of their predecessors, they demonised planning, as being the "enemy of enterprise" and stifling wealth creation. This, of course, is not the first time that a center-right government attempts to follow its political preference for smaller state, greater market freedom, deregulation and narrower scope far the planning system. Mrs. Thatcher did that in the 1980s. However while she did it under the banner of "there is no such thing as a society:: the new Coalition Government is doing it in the name of "Big Society" and "Localism" This is powerful rhetoric which can easily obscure the underlying neo-liberal motivation for change. The reform has now been legislated in the Localism Act 2011. The main provisions of the Act fill under four headings (DUG 2011a, p.6): 1. "New freedoms and flexibilities for local government 2. New rights and powers for communities and individuals 3. Reform. to make the planning system more democratic and more effective Reform to ensure that decisions about housing are taken locally" For the sake of brevity I will focus on the third heading and more specifically on three major changes to the planning system: the abolition of the Regional Strategies, the introduction of the Neighborhood Planning, and the publication of the Draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Davoudi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: DISP

Year: 2011

Volume: 47

Issue: 4

Pages: 92-94

Print publication date: 01/01/2011

ISSN (print): 0251-3625

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: NSP-Netzwek Stadt und Landschaft