In this chapter, human organisation of the built and natural environment is outlined, from ancient times up until the present day. Approaches to planning from around the world are used to aid understanding of where we are today, and help to highlight changes in the urban form of towns and cities in the UK. The main focus then turns to planning in the ‘modern’ post-1947 era up to the present day, highlighting the principal influences and issues. Planning in the ‘public interest’ is considered in the context of changing market forces and political direction. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the tensions inherent within the planning system currently operating in the UK.
This chapter explores the delivery of projects. The focus is on both governance and funding, together with a consideration of the barriers to implementation and theory associated with this. From a governance perspective, approaches such as Urban Development Corporations and Urban Regeneration Companies are introduced, together with smaller scale models such as Enterprise Zones and Business Improvement Districts. Finance is briefly discussed via, for example, Tax Increment Financing.
The governance of planning in the UK is examined in this chapter. The hierarchy of spatial scales at which planning operates, from the international and national tiers down to district and neighbourhood level, is set out as a basis for understanding how planning decisions are made. We summarise the agencies of planning, their role in planning decision making and the dimensions of integration between parties, alongside an exploration of changes in approach to public involvement in the process. The crucial role of negotiation is highlighted, with a particular focus on the role of the planner in this process.
This chapter is concerned with the decision-making space: how are decisions made? Through what process? And based on what legal construct? We explore how policy is used in decision making, as well as reviewing the different ways in which applications and decisions are made and managed. The chapter looks at the different forms of decision making, including permitted development, prior approval and permission in principle, as well as full, outline and reserve matters approaches. We also look at the wider aspects of practice, including conditions, planning gain, appeals and enforcement.
This chapter introduces the role of plans and policy in the making and management of place and space. It refers to some of the key components of a typical plan, and outlines some key plan-making principles, such as the need for an effective evidence base and proactive community and stakeholder involvement. The chapter introduces the concept of the UK’s plan-led system and the role of the statutory development plan. It introduces key policy goals and outlines some of the plan-making activities that planners need to engage with. It identifies the need for plans to be sustainable, and outlines how planners seek to ensure different social economic and environmental goals are being met.
The fully updated Short Guide to Town and Country Planning provides an concise introductory overview of the practice of planning for those with little or no prior knowledge. This second edition considers who planners are and what they do, showing how planning - as an art, science and system - has evolved as an organised action of the state.
The book discusses the planning system, processes, legal constructs and approaches, taking into account the recent regulatory changes within the UK nations. Restructured to improve readability, it explores the interactions of government and society with the planning system, and the relationship between urban planning, the environment, and placemaking. It encourages the reader to adopt a reflective and inquisitive outlook, and features:
• case study boxes;
• further reading and resources;
• guidance on the recent policy and system updates, including those through devolution.
This opening chapter provides an overview of what planning seeks to achieve and the type of outcomes that can be achieved if it is practised successfully. It presents some of the global challenges that planners are having to respond to, such as those relating to climate change, urbanisation, environmental degradation, and deteriorating health and wellbeing. The chapter presents some of the goals and principles that are being advanced for planning today, and exposes some of the tensions that can arise when planning for the ‘public good’. The planning profession is also introduced, with the chapter providing some insight about the education and training of planners and the knowledge, skills and behaviours they are expected to have.
We now discuss the development and aims of Planning Aid and its early exponents. We highlight the organisation’s role (past and present) and suggest how that work remains relevant in the contemporary planning and development environment. While we argue that new and established forms and combinations of advocacy planning are needed, there is a consistent theme throughout the history of Planning Aid (as reviewed below) relating to the unease with which the planning polity has viewed advocacy – even in its more mediatory or collaborative forms. Spaces which encourage agonistic exchange are likely to face a degree of resistance from other interests as the status quo is being challenged. Institutional arrangements which destabilise a dominant urban politics can also be regarded with suspicion; particularly where time and other resources are claimed to be scarce on a practical level, and where established interest positions and assumptions are likely to come under increased scrutiny. This reflects how urban planning remains ‘a crucial site of political struggle’ (McCann, 2001: 207) and where questions of social, economic and environmental concern are confronted locally.
The political and institutional context in which Planning Aid has operated highlights the practical but fundamental issues that have dogged ‘classic’ and ‘activist’ advocacy in the UK given the way that the role and purpose of planning has been reshaped. As a product of such change ‘other better-endowed groups are already busy with advocates of their own’ (Friedmann, 1987: 300). For example, this could be private sector agents lobbying on behalf of those who can afford their services.
Efforts to widen and deepen participation, develop progressive aims and enhance the legitimacy of decisions in local governance have acted to provoke a renewed concern with the redesign of institutions to enable these aims (Healey, 2003; Cleaver, 1999; Cleaver et al, 2001). Ostrom’s (1996; 2000) work on institutions derives from a research context exploring multi-stakeholder governance of natural resources, but also concludes that new ways of structuring governance arrangements more generally should provide citizens with a necessary and more effective role in modern democracies. There is clear influence from Hegelian philosophy latent in such arguments, where the highest of human needs is purported to be the need for participation (Sabine and Thorson, 1973). This speaks to participation in planning as being important for the fulfilment of citizenship beyond individual self-interest and to contribute to shaping the future.
As discussed in Chapter Two, despite theoretical bases that promote participation in planning practice, the profession has wrestled uneasily with the challenge of community engagement since at least the 1960s. There has been limited acceptance of participation efforts offered by public authorities and private developers; both sectors tend to relegate participation for different reasons and it typically remains either under-resourced or marginalised. A cynic might ask why would the powerful wish it any other way? After all it is rather a leap of faith to think that fulfilling citizenship is enough of a motivating factor for those with their own agendas, instrumental orientations and limited resources, particularly when control of the planning process mitigates against political and economic risk.
For many years theorists considering institutional arrangements to govern multi-interest decision-making have urged that ‘systems are needed to cope effectively with problems of modern life and to give all citizens a more effective role in the governance of democratic societies’ (Ostrom, 2000: 3). While arguments about the need for advocacy and related activism (and for the Planning Aid role in principle) have not receded, the planning polity has struggled to enable the latter part of this call to action. One reason for this is that Planning Aid organisations in the UK have been without the wherewithal or conditions to provide a more pervasive system of support. This corresponds with the mainstay of the critique levelled by Allmendinger (2004; 2009). A more radical rethink of Planning Aid was intimated in that assessment, in order to enable forms of advocacy planning to become established. It has become clear over time that the role for Planning Aid as conceived by the early proponents of advocacy planning is one that cannot be easily reconciled with current neoliberal governmentalities, yet it is this very tension that highlights how important it is that alternatives and challenge (that is, forms of agonistic exchange) are present in the system and voiced in opposition (that is, forms of antagonistic exchange) where necessary. Neo-advocacy activity is needed to bolster (post)collaborative forms in order to hold the system to account and provide needed balance. This is particularly so given the effective lobbying and advocacy role that the private sector plays on behalf of the development industry, a function that has grown significantly since Friedmann (1987) highlighted it 30 years ago.