Exploring austerity and planning reforms: insight from UK stakeholders

Vincent Onyango (Lead / Corresponding author), Husam Al Waer, Paola Gazzola, Mohammad Radfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper explores the extent to which UK planning system reforms introduced during austerity affected the expectations, purposes and outcomes for and of planning. The perspectives of UK-wide planning system stakeholders were sought and collected through an extensive questionnaire. The findings indicate that though most reforms were welcomed in principle, the anticipated benefits had not been delivered. Instead, a loss of experienced staff and capacity, and the favouring of a neoliberal ideology that inadvertently constrained the purposes and delivery of the reforms, affecting in turn, planning’s evolving raison d’être, occurred. With frequent mentioning of austerity as a needed tool for financial management, given the current national economic conditions-for example, in the UK (living cost crisis, post-Covid need for economic growth, public funding of facilities), the relevance of this paper is in warning about the risks of planning reforms, which must now be more precautionary and evidence driven during austerity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100048
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Austerity
  • Austerity's impacts
  • Planning reforms
  • UK planning
  • environmental aspects
  • local government
  • town & city planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies


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