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  • Author or Editor: Nick Croft x
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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