Town Planning Review

Continuity and change: the evolution of the British planning system, 1947-97

Town Planning Review (1998), 69, (2), 135


TPR, 69 (2) 1998 H. W. E. DAVIES Continuity and change The evolution of the British planning system, 1947-97* The modern British planning system reached its half century in 1997. During that period, the five basic legislative principles established by the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 have remained substantially unaltered yet the social, political and economic contexts of the planning system have changed considerably. The result has been a radical change in planning practice, from being a uniform, comprehensive system to one which is much more diverse in its aims and methods. The paper examines the evolution of the planning system and questions why the legislative principles were able to remain constant in the context of such change. Fifty years ago, on 8 August 1947, the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 received the Royal Assent. The appointed day for its coming into operation came the following 1 July when virtually the whole of the previous planning legislation was repealed and a new, comprehensive and universal system of land use planning was established for England and Wales. The new Act was paralleled by a separate Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1947 after Some debate as to whether there should be a single Act for Great Britain. By this Act, according to Wilfred Burns, former Chief Planner in the Department of the Environment, 'the planning system was given by Parliament to local authorities' (Burns, 1976, 684). Five basic principles were established for Control of the development and use of land through the new planning system, and these were: U ~rofe~sor H. W. E. Davies is in the Department of Land Management and Development at the ~verslty of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 219, Reading RG6 6AW. aper submitted August 1997 and accepted November 1997. C *This is a revised and extended version of the paper presented at the National Planning 190nference and Exhibition 1997 of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Edinburgh on 12 June . 97, under the title, 'Fifty years of planning achievements-the evolution of the planning system 1947', celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. e Act, came into effect on the appointed day of 1 July 1948. s: 135 Copyright © 2010 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Copyright © Liverpool University Press.

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Author details

Davies, H. W. E.