TPR) 70 (2) 1999
Trojan horse or white elephant?
The contested biography of the life and
times of the Leeds Development
This paper examines some of the issues surrounding the Leeds Development
Corporation's work, in particular some of the claims made about improving the
local planning process. The paper looks at the difficulties the Corporation
encountered in getting its plans past vociferous resident opposition in one area,
and its claims for improving the speed of determining planning applications in
its main area of commercial potential. The emphasis within the analysis is on
the discourses of failure and success used by those seeking to influence local and
national debates around the efficacy of the Urban Development Corporation
It is a delight for us all to see the end of the Leeds development corporation.
Quangoland is going ... We never wanted it; it has not worked; it is good to
see it going. (Derek Fatchett, MP for Leeds Central)
Ultimately it must be accepted-and at least some Labour members of the
Committee have accepted this-that the Leeds Development Corporation
has brought new development and economic vitality to the area and
improved its attractiveness. (Sir Paul Beresford MP, Under-Secretary of
State for the Environment)
B?th comments were reported in the Standing Committee debate on the
~lUding up orders for the Leeds Development Corporation (Secretary of State
Or the Environment, 1995).
E G~aham Haughton is Professor and Head of the Centre for Urban Development and
Un~lronmental Management (CUDEM), School of Built Environment, Leeds Metropolitan
nlversity, Calverley Street, Leeds LS 1 3HE.
19~aper submitted January 1998; revised paper received October 1998 and accepted November
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