Article Title

The Planning game—English Style or the Greater London Development Plan

Publication Title

Urban Law Annual


Shortly after the announcement of the Government's views on the Plan and Panel Report, a Labour administration totally opposed to the construction of all ringways was elected to office in the Greater London Council, replacing the Conservative administration that had submitted the Plan. With any other structure plan, all or part of it may be withdrawn so long as it has not been formally approved, a feature that emphasises the political nature of development plans. In the case of the Greater London Development Plan, however, this power was not available, so that the new administration must hope that the Secretary of State for the Environment, who is the confirming authority, will give effect to the policy on which the new administration was elected. Whether the Secretary will do so is a matter of pure speculation. If he accommodates the new administration's views, it will constitute in law a draft modification to the Plan and will involve a further public inquiry. If he does not and approves the Ringway proposals, two courses appear open to the Greater London Council. First, it may submit to the Secretary of State an amendment to the then-approved development plan, and so begin again the process of public participation and public inquiry. Secondly, it may simply do nothing.

In its statement of views on the Plan and the Panel's Report, the Government emphasised that planning in London-particularly planning for traffic-was in danger of coming to a halt. That possibility may now happen. Indeed, with such strong conflicts of opinion, it may have become inevitable.