The statutory local land use planning system in Britain I: The legislative and administrative framework
This chapter, together with Chapter 4, focuses on the development and use of the statutory local plan, but these points as to the importance of the context in which such plans are produced and used must be kept in mind. This is because the pattern of production of plans, the objectives they seek to fulfil, and the issues they address cannot be satisfactorily discussed solely by reference to legislative procedural requirements. The legislation actually embodies considerable administrative discretion, even though the DoE through policy directives and advice has subsequently sought to limit the boundaries of such local autonomy. This chapter begins with a review of the statutory development plan context within which local plans have been produced, concentrating on the various statutory (development plan schemes, certification) and informal (local plan briefs) devices which have been introduced in an attempt to ensure the conformity of local plan proposals with structure plan policies. The legislative provisions for local plans and the manner in which these provisions have developed and changed over time, both through amending statutes or evolving DoE policy, are outlined. The statutory procedures for plan production are then reviewed, together
with the way in which these requirements have been received and worked out in practice; attention is concentrated on the public local inquiry as a means of conflict resolution and plan legitimation. Chapter 4 then develops this review of the statutory local land use planning system by considering local plan production to date (March 1985) and the content of adopted and deposited plans. These two chapters together allow an evaluation of the effectiveness of the statutory local plan against the idealized hierarchical model of policy formulation set out in Chapter 2. The relevance of this exercise is that such a model is largely assumed by the development plan legislation with which we are here concerned.