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Credibility in the absence of legitimacy

Sheppard, Adam; McClymont, Katie



This presentation considers the motivations for those who chose to live beyond
‘the system’; outside of mainstream regulated society and, particularly, formal town and country
planning frameworks. The paper presents research which compares the motivations of those
involved in the early unregulated and unauthorised development of Plotlands with individuals who
have embraced contemporary ‘off-grid’, low impact forms of development which are often not within
mainstreamed planning provisions. Plotland settlements in England primarily emerged between 1918
and 1940. These were predominantly communities of unregulated and unauthorised self-built
properties, developed speculatively. Many of these developments were removed or legitimised
following the 1947 planning legislation which introduced universal planning controls in the UK. Today,
speculative ‘off grid’ development continues to occur. This is on a much smaller scale, typically
individual properties, but is nevertheless notable for being outside of the formal development industry
and processes. This paper will provide a greater understanding of the motivations of those who live or
have lived beyond the system and consider this in the context of the concept of legitimacy as derived
from the creation and acceptance of regulatory constructs, specifically planning legislations. This work
will consider ideas of credibility being associated with these development that could still be considered
illegitimate due to their unauthorised nature. With this, a discussion will be presented concerning the
limitations of established regulatory constructs, and reflect on the challenges associated with adapting
such constructs to enable new forms of development whilst retaining legitimacy and effectiveness in
controls and management.


Sheppard, A., & McClymont, K. (2018, July). Credibility in the absence of legitimacy. Paper presented at AESOP 2018: Making space for hope, Gothenburg

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name AESOP 2018: Making space for hope
Start Date Jul 10, 2018
End Date Jul 14, 2018
Acceptance Date Mar 14, 2018
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords plotlands, low impact development, credibility, impartiality, legitimacy, unauthorised, illegal
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : AESOP 2018: Making space for hope


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