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Public Participation and State Power: the case of South Yorkshire

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Using evidence gathered during the first Examination in Public of an English Metropolitan County Structure Plan, this paper shows that management of the proceedings, the choice of participants and the form and content of the discussion helped to support a powerful 'ideological' critique of the social priority approach to strategic planning adopted in South Yorkshire. The critique was orchestrated by the panel appointed by the Department of the Environment with the examination exposing an explicit conflict between central and local government over economic planning policy. The concept of the relative autonomy of the state from dominant economic interests is explored as one element of an explanation of these events together with evidence of growing centralisation and corporatism of state activity. Such an explanation exposes the rhetoric of the statutory requirement for public participation in strategic planning introduced in the Town and Country Planning Act of 1971.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1979

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