Town Planning Review

The rescaling of sub-national planning: can localism resolve England’s spatial planning conundrum?

Town Planning Review (2017), 88, (3), 283–303.

Abstract

This paper analyses the recent reorganisation of sub-national planning in England. The abrupt termination in 2010 of regional spatial strategies (RSSs) left England as the only major country in north-western Europe without effective sub-national governance structures (outside London) for spatial planning. Drawing on in-depth interviews with public-sector planners and other research material, this paper analyses the impacts of the demise of regional planning for ‘larger-than-local’ policy coordination in England. The paper seeks to question whether localism can succeed where regionalism is perceived to have failed in dealing effectively with the strategic spatial dilemmas integral to planning. It concludes by assessing whether the evolving decentralised forms of sub-national governance (combined authorities and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs)) emerging through the government’s ‘devolution revolution’ can develop to fill the current strategic planning void and resurrect some form of spatial planning throughout England.

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BODDY, M., and HICKMAN, H. (2013), ‘The demise of strategic planning? The impact of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategy in a growth region’, Town Planning Review, 84, 744–68. The demise of strategic planning? The impact of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategy in a growth region Town Planning Review 84 744 68 Google Scholar

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DCLG (DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES and LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2012), National Planning Policy Framework, www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/6077/2116950.pdf (accessed 12 July 2015). Google Scholar

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GOODWIN, M., JONES, M. and JONES, R. (2006), ‘The theoretical challenge of devolution’, in M. Tewdwr-Jones and P. Allmendinger (eds), Territory, Identity and Spatial Planning, London, Routledge, 35–46. The theoretical challenge of devolution Territory, Identity and Spatial Planning 35 46 Google Scholar

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HAMIDUDDIN, I. and GALLENT, N. (2012), ‘Limits to growth: the challenge of housing delivery in England’s “under-bounded” districts’, Planning Practice and Research, 27, 513–30. Limits to growth: the challenge of housing delivery in England’s “under-bounded” districts Planning Practice and Research 27 513 30 Google Scholar

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HAUGHTON, G. and COUNSELL, D. (2004), ‘Regions and sustainable development: regional planning matters’, Geographical Journal, 170, 135–45. Regions and sustainable development: regional planning matters Geographical Journal 170 135 45 Google Scholar

HM TREASURY, DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM AND DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (2007), Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration, London, The Stationery Office. Google Scholar

HM TREASURY (2007), RDA Impact Evaluation, London, PA Consulting. Google Scholar

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HM TREASURY and OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (2006), Review of Government Offices. London, HM Treasury. Google Scholar

HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMUNITIES and LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE (2016), Devolution: the next five years and beyond 2015–16, www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmcomloc/369/369.pdf (accessed 15 November 2016). Google Scholar

MCGUINNESS, D., GREENHALGH, P. and PUGALIS, L. (2014), ‘Is the grass always greener? Making sense of convergence and divergence in regeneration policies in England and Scotland’, Geographical Journal, 181, 26–37. Is the grass always greener? Making sense of convergence and divergence in regeneration policies in England and Scotland Geographical Journal 181 26 37 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. (2006), ‘The implementation of regional spatial strategies’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. The implementation of regional spatial strategies Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. (2007), ‘Regional governance in England: past experiences, future directions?’ International Journal of Public Sector Management, 20, 548–66. Regional governance in England: past experiences, future directions? International Journal of Public Sector Management 20 548 66 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. (2009), ‘Local economic development and the sub-national review: old wine in new bottles?’, Local Government Studies, 35, 39–59. Local economic development and the sub-national review: old wine in new bottles? Local Government Studies 35 39 59 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. and SKELCHER, C. (1980), ‘Updating the West Midlands regional strategy: a review of inter-authority relations’, Town Planning Review, 2, 153–70. Updating the West Midlands regional strategy: a review of inter-authority relations Town Planning Review 2 153 70 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. and SNAPE, S. (2005), ‘The regions and Whitehall’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. The regions and Whitehall Google Scholar

MAWSON, J., SNAPE, S and AULAKH, S. (2005), ‘Integration of regional strategies’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. Integration of regional strategies Google Scholar

OLESEN, K. (2014), ‘The neoliberisation of strategic spatial planning’, Planning Theory, 13, 288–303. The neoliberisation of strategic spatial planning Planning Theory 13 288 303 Google Scholar

PAS (2015) ‘Hanging together rather than hanging separately: The story of joint strategic planning in the East Midlands’, http://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/story-joint-strategic-pla-fb1.pdf (accessed 29 June 2016). Google Scholar

PEARCE, G. and MAWSON, J. (2009), ‘Governance in the English regions: moving beyond muddling through?’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 22, 623–42. Governance in the English regions: moving beyond muddling through? International Journal of Public Sector Management 22 623 42 Google Scholar

PEMBERTON, S. and MORPHET, J. (2013), ‘Liberterian paternalism as a tool to explore strategic sub-regional planning in England’, European Planning Studies, 21, 2020–36. Liberterian paternalism as a tool to explore strategic sub-regional planning in England European Planning Studies 21 2020 36 Google Scholar

PICKLES, E. (2010), Local government blog on Conservative Home website, http://conservativehome.blogs.com/localgovernment/eric_pickles_mp, (accessed 10 March 2014). Google Scholar

PUGALIS, L. and TOWNSEND, A. (2013), ‘Rescaling of planning and its interface with economic development’, Planning Practice and Research, 28, 104–21. Rescaling of planning and its interface with economic development Planning Practice and Research 28 104 21 Google Scholar

ROODBOL-MEKKES, P. and VAN DEN BRINK, A. (2015), ‘Rescaling spatial planning: spatial planning reforms in Denmark, England and the Netherlands’, Environment and Planning C, 33, 184–98. Rescaling spatial planning: spatial planning reforms in Denmark, England and the Netherlands Environment and Planning C 33 184 98 Google Scholar

RTPI (ROYAL TOWN PLANNING INSTITUTE) (2015), ‘Planning for growth: the role of local enterprise partnerships in England’ (RTPI Research Report No. 9), www.rtpi.org.uk/media/1400949/rtpi_research_report_planning_for_growth_final_report_9_july_2015.pdf (accessed August 2015). Google Scholar

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SNAPE, S. and MAWSON, J. (2004), ‘An analysis of the membership of regional assemblies’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. An analysis of the membership of regional assemblies Google Scholar

SWAIN, C., MARSHALL, T. and BADEN. T (2013), (eds.) English Regional Planning 2000–2010: Lessons for the Future, Abingdon, Routledge. English Regional Planning 2000–2010: Lessons for the Future Google Scholar

TCPA (TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING ASSOCIATION) (2014), Making Planning Work, Paper 3: Filling the Strategic Void, London, TCPA. Google Scholar

TCPA (TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING ASSOCIATION) (2015), The Future of Planning and Place-Making, London, TCPA. Google Scholar

TEWDWR-JONES, M. (2012), Spatial Planning and Governance: Understanding UK Planning, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Spatial Planning and Governance: Understanding UK Planning Google Scholar

TEWDWR-JONES, T., GALLENT, N. and MORPHET, J. (2010), ‘An anatomy of spatial planning: coming to terms with the spatial planning element in UK planning’, European Planning Studies, 18, 239–57. An anatomy of spatial planning: coming to terms with the spatial planning element in UK planning European Planning Studies 18 239 57 Google Scholar

TEWDWR-JONES, M. and ALLMENDINGER, P. (2007), ‘Regional institutions, governance and the planning system’, in H. Dimitriou and R. Thompson (eds), Strategic Planning for Regional Development in the UK, London, Routledge, 28–38. Regional institutions, governance and the planning system Strategic Planning for Regional Development in the UK 28 38 Google Scholar

WANNOP, U. (1995), The Regional Imperative, Bristol, Kingsley Publishers. The Regional Imperative Google Scholar

ALLMENDINGER, P. and HAUGHTON, G. (2011), ‘Challenging localism’, Town & Country Planning, July–August, 314–17. Challenging localism Town & Country Planning 314 17 Google Scholar

ALLMENDINGER, P. and HAUGHTON, G. (2012), ‘Postpolitical spatial planning in England: a crisis of consensus?’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37, 89–103. Postpolitical spatial planning in England: a crisis of consensus? Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 37 89 103 Google Scholar

ALLMENDINGER, P. and HAUGHTON, G. (2013), ‘Revisiting … spatial planning, devolution and new planning spaces’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 31, 953–57. Revisiting … spatial planning, devolution and new planning spaces Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 31 953 57 Google Scholar

AUDIT COMMISSION (2005), Regional Governance Survey, London, TSO. Google Scholar

BAKER, M. and WONG, C. (2013), ‘The delusion of strategic spatial planning: what’s left after the Labour Government’s English regional experiment?’ Planning Practice & Research, 28, 83–103. The delusion of strategic spatial planning: what’s left after the Labour Government’s English regional experiment? Planning Practice & Research 28 83 103 Google Scholar

BODDY, M., and HICKMAN, H. (2013), ‘The demise of strategic planning? The impact of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategy in a growth region’, Town Planning Review, 84, 744–68. The demise of strategic planning? The impact of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategy in a growth region Town Planning Review 84 744 68 Google Scholar

CLARKE, G. (2015), Interview, The World This Weekend, BBC Radio 4, 26 July. The World This Weekend Google Scholar

COLOMB, C. and TOMANEY, J. (2015), ‘Territorial politics, devolution and spatial planning in the UK: results, prospects, lessons’, Planning Practice & Research, online first, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2015.1081337 (accessed 12 October 2015). Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

DAVOUDI, S. and MADANIPUOR. A (2013), ‘Localism and neo-liberal governmentality’, Town Planning Review, 84, 552–61. Localism and neo-liberal governmentality Town Planning Review 84 552 61 Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES and LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2006), Evaluation of the Role and Impact of Regional Assemblies, London, DCLG. Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES and LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2012), National Planning Policy Framework, www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/6077/2116950.pdf (accessed 12 July 2015). Google Scholar

DEAS, I. (2013), ‘Towards post-political consensus in urban policy? Localism and the emerging agenda for regeneration under the Cameron government’, Planning Practice and Research, 28, 65–82. Towards post-political consensus in urban policy? Localism and the emerging agenda for regeneration under the Cameron government Planning Practice and Research 28 65 82 Google Scholar

GALLENT, N. HAMIDDUDIN, I. and MADDEDU, M. (2013), ‘Localism, down-scaling and the strategic dilemmas confronting planning in England’, Town Planning Review, 84, 563–82. Localism, down-scaling and the strategic dilemmas confronting planning in England Town Planning Review 84 563 82 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

GOODWIN, M., JONES, M. and JONES, R. (2006), ‘The theoretical challenge of devolution’, in M. Tewdwr-Jones and P. Allmendinger (eds), Territory, Identity and Spatial Planning, London, Routledge, 35–46. The theoretical challenge of devolution Territory, Identity and Spatial Planning 35 46 Google Scholar

HALL, P. (1973), The Containment of Urban England, London, Allen and Unwin. The Containment of Urban England Google Scholar

HALL, P. (2013), Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism, London, Routledge. Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism Google Scholar

HAMIDUDDIN, I. and GALLENT, N. (2012), ‘Limits to growth: the challenge of housing delivery in England’s “under-bounded” districts’, Planning Practice and Research, 27, 513–30. Limits to growth: the challenge of housing delivery in England’s “under-bounded” districts Planning Practice and Research 27 513 30 Google Scholar

HAUGHTON, G. and ALLMENDINGER, P. (2012), ‘Spatial planning and the new localism’, Planning Practice and Research, 28, 1–5. Spatial planning and the new localism Planning Practice and Research 28 1 5 Google Scholar

HAUGHTON, G., ALLMENDINGER, P., COUNSELL, D. and VIGAR, G. (2009), The New Spatial Planning: Soft Spaces, Fuzzy Boundaries and Territorial Management, London, Routledge. The New Spatial Planning: Soft Spaces, Fuzzy Boundaries and Territorial Management Google Scholar

HAUGHTON, G. and COUNSELL, D. (2004), ‘Regions and sustainable development: regional planning matters’, Geographical Journal, 170, 135–45. Regions and sustainable development: regional planning matters Geographical Journal 170 135 45 Google Scholar

HM TREASURY, DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM AND DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (2007), Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration, London, The Stationery Office. Google Scholar

HM TREASURY (2007), RDA Impact Evaluation, London, PA Consulting. Google Scholar

HM TREASURY (2015), ‘Fixing the foundations: creating a more prosperous nation’, www.gov.uk/government/publications/fixing-the-foundations-creating-a-more-prosperous-nation (accessed 12 July 2015). Google Scholar

HM TREASURY and OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (2006), Review of Government Offices. London, HM Treasury. Google Scholar

HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMUNITIES and LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE (2016), Devolution: the next five years and beyond 2015–16, www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmcomloc/369/369.pdf (accessed 15 November 2016). Google Scholar

MCGUINNESS, D., GREENHALGH, P. and PUGALIS, L. (2014), ‘Is the grass always greener? Making sense of convergence and divergence in regeneration policies in England and Scotland’, Geographical Journal, 181, 26–37. Is the grass always greener? Making sense of convergence and divergence in regeneration policies in England and Scotland Geographical Journal 181 26 37 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. (2006), ‘The implementation of regional spatial strategies’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. The implementation of regional spatial strategies Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. (2007), ‘Regional governance in England: past experiences, future directions?’ International Journal of Public Sector Management, 20, 548–66. Regional governance in England: past experiences, future directions? International Journal of Public Sector Management 20 548 66 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. (2009), ‘Local economic development and the sub-national review: old wine in new bottles?’, Local Government Studies, 35, 39–59. Local economic development and the sub-national review: old wine in new bottles? Local Government Studies 35 39 59 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. and SKELCHER, C. (1980), ‘Updating the West Midlands regional strategy: a review of inter-authority relations’, Town Planning Review, 2, 153–70. Updating the West Midlands regional strategy: a review of inter-authority relations Town Planning Review 2 153 70 Google Scholar

MAWSON, J. and SNAPE, S. (2005), ‘The regions and Whitehall’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. The regions and Whitehall Google Scholar

MAWSON, J., SNAPE, S and AULAKH, S. (2005), ‘Integration of regional strategies’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. Integration of regional strategies Google Scholar

OLESEN, K. (2014), ‘The neoliberisation of strategic spatial planning’, Planning Theory, 13, 288–303. The neoliberisation of strategic spatial planning Planning Theory 13 288 303 Google Scholar

PAS (2015) ‘Hanging together rather than hanging separately: The story of joint strategic planning in the East Midlands’, http://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/story-joint-strategic-pla-fb1.pdf (accessed 29 June 2016). Google Scholar

PEARCE, G. and MAWSON, J. (2009), ‘Governance in the English regions: moving beyond muddling through?’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 22, 623–42. Governance in the English regions: moving beyond muddling through? International Journal of Public Sector Management 22 623 42 Google Scholar

PEMBERTON, S. and MORPHET, J. (2013), ‘Liberterian paternalism as a tool to explore strategic sub-regional planning in England’, European Planning Studies, 21, 2020–36. Liberterian paternalism as a tool to explore strategic sub-regional planning in England European Planning Studies 21 2020 36 Google Scholar

PICKLES, E. (2010), Local government blog on Conservative Home website, http://conservativehome.blogs.com/localgovernment/eric_pickles_mp, (accessed 10 March 2014). Google Scholar

PUGALIS, L. and TOWNSEND, A. (2013), ‘Rescaling of planning and its interface with economic development’, Planning Practice and Research, 28, 104–21. Rescaling of planning and its interface with economic development Planning Practice and Research 28 104 21 Google Scholar

ROODBOL-MEKKES, P. and VAN DEN BRINK, A. (2015), ‘Rescaling spatial planning: spatial planning reforms in Denmark, England and the Netherlands’, Environment and Planning C, 33, 184–98. Rescaling spatial planning: spatial planning reforms in Denmark, England and the Netherlands Environment and Planning C 33 184 98 Google Scholar

RTPI (ROYAL TOWN PLANNING INSTITUTE) (2015), ‘Planning for growth: the role of local enterprise partnerships in England’ (RTPI Research Report No. 9), www.rtpi.org.uk/media/1400949/rtpi_research_report_planning_for_growth_final_report_9_july_2015.pdf (accessed August 2015). Google Scholar

SANDFORD, M. (2015), ‘Combined authorities’ (House of Commons Briefing Paper SN06649), Westminster, House of Commons Library, http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06649#fullreport, (accessed 30 June 2015). Google Scholar

SNAPE, S. and MAWSON, J. (2004), ‘An analysis of the membership of regional assemblies’, Consultancy report for English Regions Network, Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School. An analysis of the membership of regional assemblies Google Scholar

SWAIN, C., MARSHALL, T. and BADEN. T (2013), (eds.) English Regional Planning 2000–2010: Lessons for the Future, Abingdon, Routledge. English Regional Planning 2000–2010: Lessons for the Future Google Scholar

TCPA (TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING ASSOCIATION) (2014), Making Planning Work, Paper 3: Filling the Strategic Void, London, TCPA. Google Scholar

TCPA (TOWN and COUNTRY PLANNING ASSOCIATION) (2015), The Future of Planning and Place-Making, London, TCPA. Google Scholar

TEWDWR-JONES, M. (2012), Spatial Planning and Governance: Understanding UK Planning, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. Spatial Planning and Governance: Understanding UK Planning Google Scholar

TEWDWR-JONES, T., GALLENT, N. and MORPHET, J. (2010), ‘An anatomy of spatial planning: coming to terms with the spatial planning element in UK planning’, European Planning Studies, 18, 239–57. An anatomy of spatial planning: coming to terms with the spatial planning element in UK planning European Planning Studies 18 239 57 Google Scholar

TEWDWR-JONES, M. and ALLMENDINGER, P. (2007), ‘Regional institutions, governance and the planning system’, in H. Dimitriou and R. Thompson (eds), Strategic Planning for Regional Development in the UK, London, Routledge, 28–38. Regional institutions, governance and the planning system Strategic Planning for Regional Development in the UK 28 38 Google Scholar

WANNOP, U. (1995), The Regional Imperative, Bristol, Kingsley Publishers. The Regional Imperative Google Scholar

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McGuinness, David

Mawson, John