English Regional Planning 2000-2010: Lessons for the Future
Lessons for the Future
English Regional Planning 2000-2010 chronicles a vital feature of recent UK planning activity, during the period of the Blair and Brown Labour governments up to 2010. It deals particularly with the regional scale of planning during these years, whereby large steps forward were made, but where policy making often proved very controversial. One purpose of the book is to learn from the many areas of policy development, method and skills which evolved during the decade up to 2010. This will mean that a future return to strategic planning should not have to reinvent the wheel. This book also helps to inform such planning in the rest of the developed world where higher-level planning is more prevalent. The book has eight chapters written by experts active in English regional planning during these years, alongside two chapters by the editors introducing and concluding on the experience as a whole. Thematic topics covered include the way in which housing and employment development was tackled in the varying English regional contexts, and the growing influence of transport and environmental factors on the spatial strategy.
Process elements covered include how policy was made through public consultation and working with numerous stakeholders (economic, social, environmental), how the public examination of issues was organised, followed by final consideration by central government, and how monitoring informed the next policy review. The authors do not gloss over the difficulties encountered in the highly contested world of English local and regional politics, or the ways in which central government management of the regional planning process made life on the ground difficult for those engaged in the process. Nevertheless the account as a whole shows how a wealth of innovative and forward looking practices were developed. This multi-faceted study contributes to the understanding of how strategic planning can provide the framework for guiding spatial change and allocating resources, looking to a long-term sustainable future.
Corinne Swain is a former Director of the international consultancy Arup, and is now an Arup Fellow. She chaired many examinations in public of regional strategy throughout England during the Regional Spatial Strategy era. She has served on several advisory groups, including, currently, the Mayor's Outer London Commission. Tim Marshall is Reader in Planning at Oxford Brookes University. He has researched regional planning in Britain and other European countries since the late 1990s and is joint author with John Glasson of Regional Planning (Routledge, 2007). Most recently he has researched the planning of major infrastructure, under an ESRC-funded fellowship. Tony Baden is now retired but for many years worked in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and its predecessors where he was, inter alia, responsible for regional planning. Prior to joining central government he worked for SERPLAN (London and South East Regional Planning Conference).
"The book chronicles valuable experience at a time when regional spatial strategies (RSSs) face abolition with the reform of the planning system. It includes a scene-setting introduction, in-depth essays by experts in various aspects of regional planning and conclusions that draw useful lessons." - Richard Summers, Planning Magazine, August 2012