Town Planning Review

Reinterpreting the key worker problem within a university town: the case of Cambridge, England

Town Planning Review (2013), 84, (6), 721–742.

Abstract

The key worker concept was introduced into the English land-use planning system as a means to address the affordability problems of low-to-moderate income public sector workers. Local planners were granted significant discretion to interpret national planning guidance as they see fit, which gives rise to variations in local planning practice. Drawing on new institutionalism as a conceptual framework and Cambridge as a case study, the paper examines how the key worker concept has been translated into local planning policy in the light of local priorities. The paper suggests that Cambridge city planners' interpretation of the key worker concept not only provided an opportunity for the University of Cambridge to articulate its own workers' housing needs, but also shaped planning decisions at Cambridge's north-west urban extension site.

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Morrison, Nicola