Neighbourhood planning has created opportunities for communities to advance new socially and environmentally sustainable housing solutions that conflict with the interests of corporate house-builders and unsettle the depiction of citizens’ groups as protectionist and opposed to all economic growth.
The emergence of neighbourhood planning in England after 2011 was unusual both in its devolution of statutory planning policy to community organisations and in its explicit intention to reshape the protectionist opposition of citizens into enthusiastic support for housing development. It was anticipated that giving communities the right to devise neighbourhood development plans would secure their compliance with a pro-growth agenda and increase the number of sites allocated for housing. Neighbourhood planning was an experimental policy at the seismic juncture between localism and the liberalisation of housing growth. Making this policy work meant giving local people real influence over the scale and shape of development and at the same time enabling the volume house-building corporations that dominate the industry in England to access land and gain planning approval more easily.
A new paper to be published in Housing Theory and Society later this year, written by me and my colleague William Sparling, explores the conflict that emerged between neighbourhoods and the volume house-builders and analyses government responses. It then identifies the distinctive spatial practices that are emerging in neighbourhood plans with regard to housing delivery and evaluates the impact of neighbourhood planning on the dominant market model of house-building. The paper concludes with an assessment of the contribution of neighbourhood planning to housing delivery and its significance in understanding the tensions inherent in the state strategy of localism. Download the full article free: Neighbourhood planning and house-building_final