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Dr Neil Harris

Dr Neil Harris

Senior Lecturer in Statutory Planning

School of Geography and Planning

+44 (0)29 2087 6222
Room 2.90, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision

Neil is a Senior Lecturer in Statutory Planning whose research focuses on using conceptual frameworks to better understand the instruments and operation of the statutory planning system.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wales (2002)
  • Diploma in Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University (1997)
  • Diploma in Town Planning awarded with Distinction, Cardiff University (1996)
  • BSc City and Regional Planning awarded with First Class Honours, Cardiff University (1994)


  • Senior Lecturer, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, (2007-present)
  • Lecturer, School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, (1999 - 2007)

Memberships / External Activities

  • Neil is a Chartered Town Planner and is an active member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. He is a member of the Management Board of RTPI Cymru and is also an active member of its Policy and Research Forum
  • Neil has also supported Planning Aid Wales by acting as a director for over 10 years, including a year as Chairman of Planning Aid Wales
  • Neil has advised the Welsh Assembly in its Inquiry into the Planning System in Wales (2011) and also previously chaired the Welsh Assembly Government's stakeholder group on the introduction of Local Development Plans in Wales





















My research focuses on using conceptual frameworks to better understand the instruments and operation of the statutory planning system. My research focuses primarily on the planning systems of the United Kingdom. Specific aspects of the planning system that I have worked on recently include strategic spatial planning and planning enforcement.


Neil has completed research for government, professional bodies, charities and campaigning organisations and has advised government on the planning system in Wales.

'A New Approach to Managing Development in Wales'.
This Welsh Government funded project explores the potential for change to the system of development management in Wales and will inform legislative change and the crafting of Wales's first planning act in 2015. The project is being completed with Arup and Liz Mills Associates and draws on comparative study of other planning systems.

'The detection and investigation of breaches of planning control'.
This pilot project is funded by Cardiff University and explores the role that members of the public play in supporting the planning enforcement functions of local planning authorities. The project draws on surveillance studies literature to explore citizen-engagement in the enforcement of planning controls.

'Small businesses and the planning system'.
This two-stage research project was funded by the Federation of Small Businesses. The Federation was concerned that the planning system in Wales was not meeting the needs of small businesses. The project reviewed national planning policies and explored small business applicants' experiences of the planning system. The project made recommendations for ensuring that the planning system was more suited to the needs of small businesses.

I am especially interested in supervising PhD research in the following areas:

  • planning regulation and control
  • planning enforcement
  • planning theory
  • spatial planning strategies

Current supervision

Rebecca Windemer

Rebecca Windemer

Research student

Past projects

Bob Croydon (2017) - Power, patronage and probity

Ioanna Katapidi (2015) - Perceptions of heritage

Gareth Abrahams (2015) - Deleuze and planning

Ulrich Doenitz (2011) - Young people and urban planning

An-Ting Cheng (2009) - Policy co-ordination and land-use planning

Areas of expertise