Decent Homes for All looks at the role of the planning system in the provision of the right quantity of homes, of an appropriate quality, in the right locations. It considers – by examining areas of interface in the past and present, and by looking at a range of historical and contemporary issues – whether planning is evolving into the right mechanism for increasing access to ‘decent homes’: namely, whether the procedures, remit and objectives of land-use – and ‘spatial’ – planning are fit for purpose. The book also examines planning’s changing role in housing provision and in the light of recent legislation (in the form of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) asks what role planning will play in the years ahead. It is the government’s objective to promote ‘decent homes for all’ (DETR, 2000c; ODPM, 2005j): it is our intention to consider planning’s role in meeting this objective historically, today, and in the years to come. The aims of this opening chapter are to:

• Introduce the main strands of current housing-planning debate in Britain and set out the key themes to be considered in later chapters; it is our intention to reveal the broad parameters of the current housing dilemmas in this chapter and then to consider some of the historical ‘antecedents’ (in the next two chapters), its current form and aspects (in Chapters 4, 5 and 6) and latest debates (in Chapters 7, 8 and 9).