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The rise of the private sector in fragmentary planning in England

Parker, G. ORCID:, Street, E. and Wargent, M. ORCID: (2018) The rise of the private sector in fragmentary planning in England. Planning Theory and Practice, 19 (5). pp. 734-750. ISSN 1464-9357

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/14649357.2018.1532529


Over the past 30 years, the English planning system has undergone a series of reforms designed to increase efficiency, promote growth and, since 2010, achieve cost savings under the auspices of austerity. These reforms can be understood as part of a broader reorganisation of public services and functions in many Western democracies which have seen private sector providers move in to service new markets and take on functions previously delivered by public servants. Drawing on findings from research with key actors from both public and private sectors, this paper argues that the English planning system is increasingly fragmented, and task-oriented, and requiring of knowledge and skills-sets which local planning authorities typically do not possess. A relational shift regarding the (in)capacity of public planners and private sector actors drawn from a range of disciplinary backgrounds has occurred, with the latter now providing a wide range of inputs to the planning system, typically in the guise of consultants. While planning has long been an exercise in co-production, involving a number of different actors, there has been limited discussion of the role private sector actors play in servicing and reproducing the planning system. The paper therefore describes how ‘fragmentary planning’ has emerged in England, and reflects on the knowledges, skills and capacities the system now requires. In concluding, we outline the questions of governance that these dynamics raise, and suggest avenues of further research.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:79652
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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