Power, policy networks and planning: the involvement of major grocery retailers in the formulation of Planning Policy Guidance Note 6 since 1988
This paper explores a neglected issue in the study of retail strategy and store location by considering the nature of policy networks operating at the interface between retailers and central government. It argues that informal networks, coupled with the economic power of retailers and the legitimization of their activities with reference to the 'consumer interest', have served to provide retailers with an influential avenue through which they can exert power over the nature of the regulatory environment within which they operate. The paper considers the limited extant 'evidence' of the operation of such networks before moving on to outline the results of a case study. The case study reflects on new store development in the UK grocery sector since 1988 as a backdrop to an analysis of the form of policy networks operating at the interface between government departments and retail organizations. It also explores the role of other stakeholders in this process. The existence of a number of such networks is described and their role explored with reference to the involvement of retailers in the formulation and evolution of Planning Policy Guidance Note 6 on retail development.
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