This article is an exploration of how power has been exercised over the future of part of a rural town in Lancashire,
North West England. The article reviews a decade of debates about what should be done with the area, and draws
loose comparisons between practices at various stages of the story and three conceptual frameworks from planning
theory. The stages are likened to the theories of rational-comprehensive planning, agonism and communicative planning.
This story is characterised by the attempts of spatially or deliberatively remote actors to define the area's future,
and to justify this by recourse to one or more master narratives. The article appraises how successful each of the three
planning theories have been at regulating these attempts to impose the area's future. It builds on existing critiques of
rational planning and communicative planning and shows how, in this instance; well resourced agonistic debate was
more effective at promoting the importance of disparate values and non-expert knowledge.
Keywords : Planning Theory, Housing Market Renewal, Discourse.
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