Neighbourhood planning: national strategy for ‘bottom up’ governance

Published date09 April 2018
Date09 April 2018
AuthorBarbara Bogusz
Subject MatterProperty management & built environment,Building & construction,Building & construction law,Real estate & property,Property law
Neighbourhood planning:
national strategy for
bottom upgovernance
Barbara Bogusz
School of Law, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Purpose The paper aims to consider whether Neighbourhood Panning provides the appropriate output
legitimacy for citizen engagementin the planning process. The Localism Act 2011 transformed the planning
process by shifting decision-makingpowers away from the local institutions and transferring them to local
people. Neighbourhood planning has createda new dynamic in planning by using bottom upgovernance
processes which enables local people to shape the area where they live. Local referenda are used to inject
output legitimacy in to neighbourhoodplanning, and this planning self-determination can be considered as
spatial sovereignty,whereby the recipients of the planning decisions are also the primary stakeholdersthat
have shaped planningpolicy.
Design/methodology/approach This paper will examine how Localism, as an evolving concept of
local governance, is enfranchising local communities to take control of planning and development in their
area. The paper will draw upon the experience of the revised planning methodology introduced by the
Localism Act 2011 and consider its impact on the delivery of broader public policy objectives contained
within the NationalPlanning Policy Framework.
Findings Localism provides an alternative form of citizen engagement and democratic legitimation for
planning decisions which transcendsthe traditional forms of participatory democracy, and recognises that
other pathsof democratic law-making are possible.
Originality/value The paper argues that neighbourhoodplanning has created a paradigm whereby local
planning preferences,as an expression of spatial sovereignty, do not necessarilyalign with the broader public
policy objectiveto build homes in the right places.
Keywords Localism, Governance, Bottom-up, Legitmacy, Neighbourhood plan, Spatial sovereignty
Paper type Research paper
Where to build houses is arguably one of many sensitive issues faced by neighbourhoods.
There is broad consensus that the housing crisis needs to be addressed (Brooker, 2017);
however, the reality of where the new homes are to be located is contentious,not only due to
infrastructure concernsbut also because of parochialism, for example, in the guise of spatial
attachment. The NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and buildabsolutely nothing anywhere
near anything(BANANA)mentality has been commonplace within many neighbourhoods.
In 2010, in part to address concerns over housing shortages, the Conservative-Liberal
Democrat coalition governments concept of building a Big Societysought to devolve
power from central government to promote greater local and community engagement in
specic policy areas, one of which was empoweringcommunities to shape their place[1].
The Localism Act (LA) 2011 granted citizens increased decision-making powers with
respect to planning and, as a consequence, the concept of localhas adopted a politically
and legally signicant meaningwhich is expressed through the idea of Localism. Localism
embraces the notion thatindividuals share not only a geographical or spatial connectionbut
that, within a dened area, they share socio-economic and legal relationships which bind
Received7 January 2018
Revised29 January 2018
Accepted2 February 2018
Journalof Property, Planning and
Vol.10 No. 1, 2018
pp. 56-68
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPPEL-01-2018-0001
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