Over the last two decades there has been continuous tinkering and wholesale review of the remit, governance and territorial focus of sub-national development in England. There has also been mounting agreement that subsidiarity will produce optimum material outcomes. It is against this background that we provide a critical reading of the UK Coalition government’s 2010 ‘White Paper’ on Local Growth. Revealing the peculiarities of an economic transition plan which dismantled a regional (strategic) framework, we explore the opportunities that cross-boundary Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) may provide. After abandoning regions, LEPs have been promoted as the only possible ‘replacements’ for Regional Development Agencies and, thus, a prime example of new ‘techniques of government’. We probe the potentials and pitfalls from the dash to establish new sub-national techniques of government, and crystallise some key implications that apply beyond the shores of England. Our key contention is that LEPs have designed-in just as many issues as they have designed-out.