3: Localism: the peccadillos of a panacea

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Launched with much fanfare as a new scale and alternative to the regional planning structures established in England under the New Labour governments of the 1990s and 2000s, localism’s most tangible effect on planning has been the rights conferred on local communities and businesses to prepare neighbourhood plans. With the current government agenda for planning veering away from localism and back towards centralism, the chapter reflects on the legacies and lessons of almost a decade of experience of neighbourhood planning and its future prospects. It concludes that poorer areas have been much less likely to produce neighbourhood plans, highlights the regressive consequences of that inequality and suggests that fundamental changes are needed to make it work effectively.

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