This study is concerned with an aspect of public sector resource allocation, specifically the mechanisms whereby United Kingdom central government public expenditure within the New Towns budget heading was utilised for the planned expansion of the town of Northampton from 1965 to 1985.\ud The distinctive feature of the town expansion process associated with Northampton was that, for the first time in the history of the New Town programme, such expansion involved a designated area which contained within it the whole of a County Borough. The consequences of this were that the central government and its agent, the development corporation, found themselves involved in establishing a pattern of allocative, decision making relationships which included a major role for the County Borough. A partnership was established and codified between central government and the County Borough of Northampton that involved institutional, functional and process arrangements of a unique kind, that have not, in total, been replicated elsewhere in the New Town programme.\ud This unique partnership between central government and the County Borough of Northampton provided a focal point for the wider consideration of the role of 'policy communities' in central-local relations. The detailed consideration of the policy community associated with Northampton's town expansion has been based on the model devised by R A W Rhodes. The use of the model in this way has both tested it as a methodological tool and provided an opportunity for indicating possible further areas for development. In addition, its specific application to the Northampton experience has raised issues and indicated possible policy options that are of significance for other centrally funded urban development schemes such as the regeneration of the United Kingdom's inner city areas
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