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Title: Encouraging greater public participation in neighbourhood planning : an ethnographic examination of the impact of the Localism Act 2011 in England
Author: Nickson, R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 2695
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2019
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Following its election in 2010 the UK Coalition Government and the subsequent Conservative administration from 2015 - to date promoted, as a route to economic growth (Bradley, 2016b) and increased social equity (Brownhill, 2016) an expanded role for civic action through the adoption of localism (Corry & Stoker, 2002: Brownhill and Downing, 2013: Bailey, 2017 & Bradley, 2016a) Legislative changes were introduced in the Localism Act 2011 and subsequently amended in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2017 (see DCLG et al). This particularly impacted the organisation and delivery of spatial planning, in England, in the following ways: through the disbandment of previous national, regional & local planning regimes; by a reduction of national planning policy guidance; allowing the creation of community led 'neighbourhood plans'. More than 1900 places have commenced the process of development of a neighbourhood plan, with over 200 achieving a successful referendum outcome (according to Parker and Salter, 2017: Bradley and Brownhill 2017). Whilst the concept of public participation in plan-making is not new (King et al, 1998: Cooke and Kothari, 2001), the potential impact of the changes, on expanding that involvement is contested (Davoudi and Cowie, 2013: Gallent et al, 2013). The nature and impact of involvement citizens in neighbourhood planning remains emergent (Parker, 2015: McGuinness and Ludwig, 2017) and is subject to a growing body of contemporary literature which this research contributes towards. This study seeks to explore the impact of the Localism Act 2011 (DCLG 2010) on public participation in planning through the 'lived experience' (Okley and Callaway 1992) of volunteers in neighbourhood planning. This research is ethnographic in nature (Genzuk, 2003) and the author was able to apply methods of participant-observation (Ybema et al 2010) in the development of a plan from inception through to adoption. An Interpretative Thematic Analysis (IPA) (after Braun and Clarke, 2006, Maggs-Rapport, 200) is then applied to a large data corpus including; questionnaires, social media forum outcomes, semi-structured interviews: culminating in a thick narrative description suitable for an applied ethnography (after Barfield, 2004 and Maginn, 2007). In doing so, this thesis aims to identify what has changed as a result of the Localism Act, consider whether these changes represent the emergence of a new paradigm for planning in the UK. It examines how and why individuals are becoming involved at a local level and, seeks to propose a new framework for good practice for community involvement in neighbourhood planning in the new context, in order to inform best practice in spatial planning policy generally and neighbour plan-making specifically. This thesis has examined the appropriateness of community involvement in planning from the view of the lived experiences of those participating, and, through participant/observation the researcher has delivered an ethnographic study of particular experiences. The research has applied an uncommon approach in planning practice and in doing so has confirmed that ethnographic techniques are appropriate for this area of sustainable development and planning research. It has given 'voice' to participants in ways that cannot otherwise be achieved using traditional planning study techniques. Adopting an 'insider' role in neighbourhood planning may not be a repeatable method, to some extent, given that the opportunity to participate in neighbourhood planning in that sense is necessarily limited. Hence this study provides a unique contribution to knowledge in the field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available