By Martin Minogue (eds.)

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4 TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING Town and country planning affects the way in which people live in a variety of direct and indirect ways. Local authorities are charged wi th preparing plans, controlling new development and conserving the environment. The planning system for England and Wales is both sophisticated and complex and is carried out jointly by both counties and distriets. The actual results of the planning process (its outputs) vary from being large scale, long term strategie plans to speeific and direet deeisions about particular plots of property.

Although the strueture plans were to be submitted to eentral govemment for formal approval, the loeal plans were in general terms not to be speeifieally ealled in by 47 central govemment provided that they fitted within the overall framework of the structure plan. One of the early justifications for local govemment reorganisation was the need to relate more c10sely the planning system and its organisational context. When the new planning system was being developed it was apparently envisaged that a single, unitary authority could prepare both structure and local plans.

All these figures are linked to give a fairer reflection of housing programmes than the straightforward figures of houses completed. The housing construction process is a long one. It takes eighteeen months on average 39 from building start to occupation of a council house, compared with fourteen months in the private sector. In relation to new housing programmes Bradford MDC and Liverpool MDC have programmes that appear low in relation to the extent of their problems, while Greenwich LB and Southwark LB each have very considerable house construction programmes.

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