chapter  2
28 Pages

MAKING WALES: SPATIAL STRATEGY MAKING IN A DEVOLVED CONTEXT

ByNEIL HARRIS, HUW THOMAS

Devolution to Wales in 1999 dramatically changed the political context for policy and strategy making in Wales. The establishment of an entirely new political institution – the National Assembly for Wales – is an important event in any institutional and policy landscape. New institutions are usually intent on making a difference in policy and implementation terms to the situation as it existed prior to their establishment. This often manifests itself in the issue of a suite of new policies and strategies, many of which aim to be ‘distinctive’ or ‘innovative’ in character. One of the more genuinely innovative aspects of the Assembly’s policy agenda since devolution has been its preparation of People, Places, Futures: the Wales Spatial Plan (WAG 2004a). This is a form of spatial strategy of a kind similar to those that have been developed previously or in parallel in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Nevertheless, like many of its other attempts at policy making, the Assembly has been keen to develop a distinctive approach to the preparation of its own Wales Spatial Plan. So, although the approach to the Plan has been informed by approaches elsewhere, it does have some particularly defining characteristics of its own as an approach to spatial strategy-making.