Town Planning Review

Regional planning in England: Progress and pressures since 1997

Town Planning Review (2004), 75, (4), 447–472.

Abstract

By 2004 the English regions had completed the first set of Regional Planning Guidance (RPG) of the new century. The previous round, completed in the mid-1990s, was widely considered at the time to be weak in a number of respects. Efforts by government and the planning profession to raise the quality of planning at the regional level have been considerable since that time. There have been some extra resources, supported by much involvement of agents from the wider economy and society.

This paper takes an overview of what these planning instruments (RPG) are proposing in substantive terms. What agendas are they promoting? Have the weaknesses of the last round been overcome? Is 'spatial planning' becoming a reality? Is delivery of RPGs being effectively addressed? These are large questions, and the paper only gives tentative answers. But an assessment is timely, given the planning legislation finally passed in May 2004, with the replacement of RPGs by Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs) and the abolition of structure plans.

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Marshall, Tim