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Planning for growth: The role of LEPs

Following the abolition of regional plans, a major question is how to effectively undertake strategic planning to support economic growth objectives as well as sustainable development principles. This project examines the potential of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), from a limited start, to become part of a strategic mechanism to plan for growth.

The final report and research briefing are available from this project.

An interim report is also available from this project.

The research, by Lee Pugalis, Nick Gray and Ania Ankowska of Northumbria University, and Alan Townsend of Durham University, reviews the development of LEPs so far and analyses their role in relation to the statutory planning system. It also considers the potential of LEPs as alternative strategic planning mechanisms.

The research rerpesents the first comprehensive analysis of the planning roles of LEPs, including a detailed analysis of their Strategic Economic Plans (SEPs). The analysis suggests that LEPs are not a solution to statutory strategic planning at the sub-national level (nor do they claim to be), and that they have no wish to take on statutory strategic planning powers or responsibilities. However, LEPs do have considerable potential to work across different policy areas such as planning, and to bring together different partners as brokers of cross-boundary, strategic issues such as housing and employment.

This research has been commissioned through the RTPI's Small Project Impact Research (SPIRe) Scheme. SPIRe encourages high quality research projects that have the potential to impact on policy and practice.

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