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Contestation and conservatism in neighbourhood planning in England: reconciling agonism and collaboration?

Parker, Gavin, Lynn, Tessa and Wargent, Matthew ORCID: 2017. Contestation and conservatism in neighbourhood planning in England: reconciling agonism and collaboration? Planning Theory and Practice 18 (3) , pp. 446-465. 10.1080/14649357.2017.1316514

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Neighbourhood planning was formally enabled as a statutory part of the English planning system under the Localism Act 2011. This element of formal planning has generated significant interest as it actively requires local communities to lead on producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) and is widely recognised as formalising co-produced planning. The paper reflects on research undertaken with a sample of neighbourhoods active in producing a neighbourhood plan, and develops a critical discussion about the experience of those participants. The findings highlight that existing power relations, national priorities, the framing of neighbourhood planning regulations, local political tensions and local resource constraints affect the emerging practices of neighbourhood planners in England. Many groups have adopted conservative positions or are finding their NDPs are being limited by consultants, local authorities or examiners, often concerned with how the NDPs will fare in the contested environment of planning and development in neo-liberal times. While some have contended that neighbourhood planning can form part of a progressive localism and there is some hope for such participatory spaces, our view is that innovation is being constrained if not entirely suppressed. We conclude that reform to neighbourhood planning is needed if it is to realise the ambitions of inclusive, empowered and responsible planning at the very local scale.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1464-9357
Date of Acceptance: 23 March 2017
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 10:14

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