4: Planning at the ‘larger than local’ scale: where next?

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Since 2010 and the abolition of the regional scale of planning in England, there have been different initiatives that have sought to address the ‘larger than local’ scale. Initially, under the 2010–15 Coalition government, an economically focused and partnership governance model was privileged through the establishment of local enterprise partnerships with an economic development remit and weak ties to statutory planning (arrangements in other parts of the present UK remained largely the same). In England, however, the 2010s saw a gradual ‘hardening’ of sub-regional governance arrangements in some places, with the emergence of combined authorities that initially focused on city-regional areas. In some instances, these have embarked on strategic planning processes under different powers and models, seen by some commentators as heralding a return to strategic planning reflection and capacity. However, more recent reforms have little further to say on the strategic scale of planning. This chapter explores some of these issues based on the experience of the past decade and the current prospects for planning at the ‘larger than local’ scale.

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