Following the plan: Local Authority infrastructure planning in England

Latif, Faraz
Following the plan: Local Authority infrastructure planning in England. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The concept of local authority infrastructure planning in England was introduced as part of the transition from land-use to spatial planning ushered in by the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act. As a component of this reform of the planning system, local infrastructure planning was envisioned as part of the movement for planning to go beyond traditional land-use planning and integrate policies for the development and use of land with other public policy programmes that shape places. The aim of this thesis is to critically assess the extent to which local authority infrastructure planning conforms to the idea of a transition from land-use to spatial planning. In order to address this aim, the research is set within a historical context of planning which acknowledges that there have been previous attempts to facilitate the planning and delivery of infrastructure at the local level. The thesis then reviews the existing literature of spatial planning and develops a conceptual framework to identify four characteristics of a spatial planning approach namely: evidence, governance, partnership and delivery. This framework expedites an understanding of the spatial planning approach and its association with infrastructure planning. The research utilises two empirical case study local authorities- Bolton and Sheffield- to examine the live processes of local authority infrastructure planning. Methodologically, the thesis employs qualitative methods, specifically semi-structured interviews supported by participant observation and documentary analysis. The thesis concludes that local authority infrastructure planning reflected a ‘squeezed path’ and an incomplete transition from land-use to spatial planning. It finds the spatial planning premise of local authority infrastructure planning to be somewhat detached from its actual implementation, creating an implementation gap at the ‘street-level’. Although, it conveys that infrastructure planners sought to construct and execute infrastructure planning processes in accordance with the spatial planning approach. Furthermore, it is suggested that the effectiveness of local authority infrastructure planning for the delivery of infrastructure is more conspicuously related to financing rather than the genealogy of the infrastructure planning process. In other words, the availability of capital finance and funding was identified to be the dominant factor shaping the process of local authority infrastructure planning in the case studies. Consequently it is contended that there has been a financialisation and neoliberalisation of local infrastructure delivery. In this way, local authority infrastructure planning is subject to the interminable processes of the wider prevailing political economy; impacted by the course of neoliberalisation and ‘new public management’ procedures.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2014-01 (completed)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2014 09:58
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 00:13
DOI: 10.17638/00018553