Does one size fit all? Place-neutral national planning policy in England and its impact on housing land supplies and local development plans in North East England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review




Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-346
Number of pages18
JournalLocal Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2018
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework’s requirement that all local planning authorities in England should strive to achieve a robust supply of housing land to satisfy demand for housing development for a minimum of five years. Conceptually the paper challenges the orthodox place-neutral view propounded by UK central government (and many major housing developers) that a bottleneck in land supply caused by deficiencies in the local (plan-led) planning system is the central barrier to unblocking housing supply in all parts of the country. Theoretically, we contend that the five-year land supply requirement within the National Planning Policy Framework is an example of a spatially place-neutral policy approach that does not comprehend the place-based nuances in local and regional land and housing markets in England. Empirically, it explores a case study of all 12 local planning authorities in the North East of England, to question whether a uniform (one size fits all) approach to identifying a five-year supply of land for housing development across England is effectual. Analysis of empirical data validates concerns that in some peripheral localities, other variables constrain housing deliverability more significantly than land supply, issues such as limited mortgage and development finance, an abundance of brownfield land, negative place-based stigma and development viability concern. The research concludes that centrally defined, inflexible, place-neutral planning policy is a significant impairment to some local planning authorities in the North of England achieving up-to-date local plans.

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