Mark Tewdwr-JonesandNeil Harris
The notion of New Right ideology within the planning system found its expression in the 1980s under a strong government. The New Right ideology, as applied by the Major administrations in the 1990s found expression through far more subtle manifestations of changing procedures and initiatives. Thornley (1993) identifies Circular 22/80 ‘Development Control—Policy and Practice’ as the centrepiece of development control policy of the first Thatcher administration. However, no such ‘centrepiece’ is so readily agreed upon in the context of the 1990s. This may be considered to reflect a series of potential issues. After 1990, the government may have placed more reliance on incremental alterations to development control policy and procedure. Alternatively, we might hypothesise that development control as a policy process had been comprehensively ‘dealt with’ in the 1980s and now represents the baseline of the Thatcherite planning model. Or, does the lack of a centrepiece development control policy merely reflect the advancement of New Right ideology into a new phase, by a focus on procedures rather than policies? Thornley (1993:222) identifies the importance of procedures within the planning system but suggests that this was actually a ‘second dimension’ to the Thatcherite reforms. The changing political and economic conditions of the 1990s could have forced the government to now concentrate on this second dimension of planning.
We commence this review of development control as it has been affected by New Right ideology in the 1990s by considering a brief three-way analysis of the process. An analysis of these categorising components, legislation and policy initiatives, will lead us to contend that the greater emphasis in the 1990s has been on initiatives rather than policy as in the previous decade. By considering the changes in this context, we wish to