MPlan Planning

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Plan Making & the Development Process

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN20181
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit provides an introduction to the UK statutory town and country planning systems,  concentrating on that currently being developed in England, including contemporary land-use policy guidance, plan-making and regulatory control systems, and the principles and practice of spatial planning. As a formal regulatory framework, the statutory land-use planning systems set the rules under which all those with interests in the future development and use of land must operate and, as a result, give an indication of what can and cannot be achieved through the statutory planning powers and controls developed for each the four national territories in the United Kingdom.

These spatial planning policy frameworks are not static but change over time in response to changing political and socio-economic circumstances – indeed the statutory planning system in England has gone through two phases of major upheaval in the last two decades or so, brought about by the Labour government’s Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the Planning Act 2008, and most recently the Localism Act 2011 introduced by the subsequent Coalition government, which set out revised national planning policy in their National Planning Policy Framework (2012). Further changes are continuing to be made by the current Conservative government, focusing on both substantial and procedural parts of the planning system.  Similar institutional, legislative and policy changes are also occurring in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Within these varied and changing arrangements, planning and related professionals must work towards balancing the needs and demands of a democratic society bearing in mind the conservation of environmental resources and the promotion of sustainable development.


To understand the operation of the statutory town planning systems in the UK and to introduce spatial planning concepts.

To evaluate how plan policies are identified, developed and implemented and their relationship with development control;

To evaluate the role of planning in the formulation and management of sustainable environments;

To develop skills in site appraisal and landscape and environmental planning and assessment;

To analyse and present findings in various formats and to begin to develop practical and professional skills in British planning procedures.


Learning outcomes

Understand of the operation of the UK planning systems, including the relationship between planmaking and development control;

Understand of the nature and scope of spatial planning;

Develop practical skills in site appraisal and landscape and environmental planning; 4.Develop competence in report writing and oral presentational skills. 



1    Course unit structure and organization

2    The four UK Planning systems

3    Local planning in England - 2004 to present

4     Preferred options for a local plan

5    Neighbourhood planning and supplementary guidance

6    Workshop #1: Plan-making

7    Workshop #2: Planning policies

8    Introduction to development management (control) and its relationship with development plans

9    Introduction to the second assignment & field visit

10   Workshop #3: Masterplan development

11   Workshop #4: Planning application

12     Feedback and revision



Teaching and learning methods

As well as lectures, this course unit will include elements of practical work involving field visits, studio work and student presentations. The theoretical and practical aspects of the course are closely related. The practical studio work and associated visits will give you a more ‘hands-on’ experience and understanding of statutory land use planning procedures and environmental planning techniques. The knowledge and skills you gain will be tested through a mix of individual and group based project assignments, as well as an examination.


Sessions marked as ‘workshop’ signify time set aside for students to work, usually in groups, on project work/course assignments. Although there will be no formal teaching at these times, course tutors will usually be available for consultation or advice. You must attend all scheduled workshops and complete all assignments to successfully complete this module. 



Knowledge and understanding

Understand the operation of the UK planning systems, including the relationship between plan-making and development control;


Intellectual skills

Understand of the nature and scope of spatial planning;

Practical skills

Practical skills in plan-making and development control;

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Competence in report writing and oral presentation; skills in group working.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 40%
Written exam 60%

Two Group Assignments 40%

Feedback methods

As you progress through the module you will receive ad hoc verbal feedback at the weekly sessions on specific aspects of the units you undertake. The online workshops will provide a more structured opportunity for advice and feedback to groups and individuals as work is undertaken in relation to the two group assignments. The final lecture session will include a feedback and revision element, linked to the subsequent examination. Substantive written feedback on your assignments will be provided on in the usual way through Blackboard. As the course leader, I am also available to discuss specific issues in relation to the module at my office hours or by e-mail appointment ( 

Recommended reading


Core eTextbook: Town and Country Planning in the UK

Cullingworth, J.B. (2015) Town and country planning in the UK . 15th edition. [Online]. London¿; New York¿:; London¿; New York¿:, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Essential readings

Gilg, A.W. (2005) Planning in Britain¿: understanding and evaluating the post-war system . London¿:, SAGE.

Hall, P. (2020) Urban and regional planning. Sixth edition. Mark Tewdwr-Jones (ed.). Abingdon, Oxon¿;, Routledge.

Haughton, G. & Allmendinger, P. (2013) Spatial Planning and the New Localism. Graham Haughton & Philip Allmendinger (eds.). London, Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Katie Williams (2014) Urban form and infrastructure: a morphological review. [Online]. Government Office for Science. Available from:

Recommended readings

Greed, C. (2014) Planning in the UK an introduction . David Johnson (ed.). Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Jessica Ferm & John Tomaney (eds.) (2018) Planning practice¿: critical perspectives from the UK . London, Routledge.

Haughton, G., Allmendinger, P., Counsell, D. & Vigar, G. (2009) New Spatial Planning, The: Territorial Management with Soft Spaces and Fuzzy. Graham. Haughton (ed.). London¿;, Routledge.

Sheppard, A., Peel, D., Ritchie, H. & Berry, S. (2017) Essential guide to planning law. Deborah Peel, Heather Ritchie, & Sophie Berry (eds.). Bristol, Policy Press.

Plan making

Booth, P. (2016) The control of Discretion: Planning and the Common-Law tradition. Planning theory (London, England). [Online] 6 (2), 127–145. Available from: doi:10.1177/1473095207077585.

Gavin Parker and colleagues (2020) Independent research on the impacts of neighbourhood planning.

Development control (management)

McClymont, K. (2011) Revitalising the political: Development Control and Agonism in Planning Practice. Planning theory (London, England). [Online] 10 (3), 239–256. Available from: doi:10.1177/1473095211399398.

Beer, A.R. (2000) Environmental planning for site development¿: a manual for sustainable local planning and design. 2nd ed. / Anne R. Beer and Catherine Higgins. Cathy. Higgins (ed.). London, Spon.

Further reading

Tewdwr-Jones, M. (2012) Spatial Planning and Governance. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Rydin, Y. (2003) Urban and Environmental Planning in the UK. 2nd ed. 2003. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Katie. Williams, Elizabeth Burton, & M. (Michael) Jenks (eds.) (2000) Achieving sustainable urban form . London, E. & F. N. Spon.

Selman, P. (1999) Environmental Planning. 2nd Revised edition. Thousand Oaks, SAGE Publications Inc.

Various relevant statements of national and strategic planning policy, especially recent Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government publications relating to the reformed planning system for England.

Copies of The Planner (, Planning magazine (, and Town and Country Planning Association Journal (

Relevant websites such as (which has specific sections covering the current ongoing changes to the English planning system, and relevant sites for other agencies such as & The Planning Portal ( is also a very good source of explanation (geared to different types of user from general public to professionals), with links to relevant documentation, and even interactive content.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 5
Lectures 14
Seminars 9
Independent study hours
Independent study 172

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Caglar Koksal Unit coordinator

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