The resurrection of strategic planning in England: Emerging models from Manchester and beyond

Authors: Mark Baker*, Manchester Urban Institute (MUI), University of Manchester, UK
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: regional planning, strategic planning, urban governance, England
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The newly elected Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition UK government in 2010 wasted little time in ending the era of [English] regionalism and sub-regionalism that characterized the former Labour Government administrations since the late 1990s. The emphasis now shifted to that of Localism and more strategic spatial planning issues were left to be dealt with by exhortations for neighbouring local authorities to work together under a newly instigated ‘duty-to-cooperate’ and through a wider raft of experiments that unfolded in the context of the new Government’s governance arrangements within a broader context of austerity. Meanwhile, supporters of ‘old style’ statutory strategic and regional planning lamented the opening up of a strategic policy vacuum that echoed the barren years of strategic planning in the 1980s. However, a few such governance experiments, most notably the establishment of Combined Authorities in the larger conurbations outside of London but now spreading beyond the metropolitan heartlands, have placed a growing emphasis on their potential role in strategic planning. For example, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Strategic Framework for Greater Manchester (GMCA, 2016) is arguably the first attempt at strategic planning across the conurbation since the County Structure Plan from the early 1980s. This paper examines the potential strategic planning role of the new combined authorities, and other models such as the longer-standing arrangements for London, and asks whether the tide is turning and we are beginning to see a growing movement towards strategic planning in England once again.

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