Whether in power or in opposition, the planning policies of the Conservative Party are\ud caught in a tension between the free market and local communities. On one hand, the\ud Conservatives face developers who want to simplify the planning system, speed up\ud decision making and make sufficient land available for economic activities. All this is\ud likely to promote a small government, deregulatory policy agenda that is, in principle at\ud least, distinctive. On the other hand, the Conservatives face local authorities and a\ud Conservative electorate that are keen on conserving local amenities and the local\ud environment and that, as a result, are also keen on promoting effective systems of\ud local consultation and effective mechanisms of development control. The tension\ud between the market and local communities has been recurrent in Conservative\ud planning policy since at least the 1980s and is unlikely to disappear in the near future.\ud The tension also means, however, that Conservative proposals tend to be relatively\ud narrow in their scope.\ud Keywords: Conservative Party, town planning, environment
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