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Talk to the hand? Community Councils and planning consultation

Anderson, Jonathan Mark ORCID: 2008. Talk to the hand? Community Councils and planning consultation. Planning Theory 7 (3) , pp. 284-300. 10.1177/1473095208094827

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Planning systems are not the property of planners alone, rather they are collectively owned by the broad range of stakeholders that planning involves and affects (after Hague, 2000). As a consequence, issues of participation, responsiveness and relevance are fundamental to the health and vitality of planning systems. To accurately diagnose this aspect of the patient's condition it is necessary, as Allmendinger notes, to examine `the rich context in which planning operates' (2002: 4). This article does so by shedding light on planning consultation at the local level. It examines the often overlooked relationships between community councils (the lowest level of statutory community representation in planning) and principal councils (a term employed to include all local authorities and national parks that make planning decisions). The article will illustrate the frequency, function and degree of agreement existing between different council tiers on planning deliberations and, from this, identify a number of crucial points of tension between community councils and the planning system. These tensions centre on the nature of democracy within the system, the legitimacy of local knowledge in deliberation, and perhaps most importantly, the (perceived) interests and values of the planning system as they are practised. The article will argue that these tensions produce both competence and confidence disparities between councils and, as a consequence, the planning dialogue is reduced to each council `talking to the hand' of the other. Such circumstances raise important concerns regarding the vitality of the planning system in remaining relevant and responsive to these local participants, and thus the health of the planning system overall.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community Councils; Local authorities; Local knowledge; Participation; Planning
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1473-0952
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:35

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