Postgraduate Dissertation

Long live the Localism Act? – An investigation into the value of Neighbourhood Development Plans: The case of Aylesbury Vale


In the age of Localism, neighbourhood planning aims to provide a statutory platform for communities to positively engage in local planning matters and shape future place-making. With over 2,750 neighbourhoods now involved with planning at grassroots level, uptake of the process has undoubtedly been positive. Existing literature highlights the potential to contribute to the existing development plan, introduce innovative policy and improve the resulting quality of development, whilst others criticise the initiative, arguing that the protectionist agenda of many communities is likely to undermine the objectives of neighbourhood planning and add little value to the pre-existing development plan. Utilising a case-study of Aylesbury Vale, this dissertation explores the extent to which neighbourhood plan policies deviate from the current development plan, and as a result of these policies whether the quality of development is markedly improved. This has been supported by stakeholder insights into whether neighbourhood plan policies have positively contributed to place-making and community engagement with planning matters. The research is based on a review of existing literature, including development plan policy, focus group discussions with Local Planning Authority planning officers, and interviews with those involved with adopting Neighbourhood Development Plans. The research reveals that the range of neighbourhood plan policies within the district have limited scope for delivering a higher quality of development and can often prolong the decision-making process. However, the research divulges that communities perceive that they have more control over the delivery of housing, employment and community facilities achieved by using policies which are more reflective of local character and need. The investigation suggests that the dynamic nature of the planning system, the cost and resource intensive process of adopting a plan, and the uncertainty around the implications of the forthcoming White Paper, puts the longevity of neighbourhood planning at risk. Key Words: Neighbourhood planning; localism; planning policy; housing delivery; NIMBYism, value

Links to resources

The full text of these resource are only available to Oxford Brookes staff and students. Please login to RADAR if you are a student or member of staff


Legg, Daniel J.


Rights Holders: Legg, Daniel J.
Supervisors: Ludhe-Thompson, Naomi

Oxford Brookes departments

School of the Built Environment
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

Degree programme

MSc Spatial Planning



© Legg, Daniel J.
Published by Oxford Brookes University
All rights reserved