Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies: a planning vacuum? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence from Jim Parke (ARSS 05A)



1.    The letter[7] of the 29 June 2010 from the Communities and Local Government Secretary and the Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary to Councils and Businesses across England invites them to put together proposals for the new economic development partnerships by the 6 September 2010. The emerging picture[8] of up to 60 often small LEP partnerships being proposed includes a number based on traditional County Council boundaries with the County Council in partnership with their Districts. There are a number of potential problems with this approach for strategic planning purposes.

2.    From our experience the irrelevance of the County boundaries for sub regional and housing market area analysis. For example:

the commuting across the North Yorkshire boundary into "Teeside";

The County Durham and Northumberland County commuting relationship with the "Tyneside" core conurbation;

The relationship of part of Wiltshire County with Bath and Bristol—commuting from the Trowbridge area;

The Wiltshire relationship with the "Southampton/Portsmouth" conurbation—commuting from Salisbury;

The Plymouth relationship with the eastern parts of Cornwall—Saltash, Torpoint and Liskeard in the former Caradon District; and

The Warwickshire relationship with the West Midlands conurbation.

3.    In addition, it is also worth drawing to the attention of the Committee our experience of the availability of technical resources held by the Counties despite the withdrawal of their Structure Plan responsibilities. At a time of financial stringency these resources could be reallocated to the new sub-regional organisations in order to facilitate the updating of the data and research collated by the now-abolished Regional Local Authority Leaders' Boards. For example the resources of Gloucestershire CC, Durham CC, Devon CC and Warwickshire CC.


The emerging Local Enterprise Partnerships, many of which are being proposed based on traditional County boundary areas, are too small to be able to take a proper strategic view.

From our experience in the South West and elsewhere the extent of the Housing Market Areas are greater than the grouping of Metropolitan Authorities and individual Urban Authorities.

The existing County Councils may well have technical planning resources that could be reallocated to the new sub-regional bodies to allow them to inherit the work of the Regional Local Authority Leaders' Boards and carry out further data collection and research

September 2010

7   http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/regional/docs/10-1026-final-letter-local-enterprise-partnerships.pdf Back

8   http://www.lgcplus.com/5018558.blog


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Prepared 31 March 2011