Dr Matthew Wargent

British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Matthew Wargent

Dr Matthew Wargent

Real Estate & Planning
EM 168, Whiteknights Campus
+44 (0) 118 378 5415



Matthew’s research focuses on governance, planning and public participation.

His current research, funded by the British Academy, explores the expanding of the private sector in local governance arrangements in the UK. Recent research has also explored the production of local planning policy, the role of communities in planning, and the nature of conflict in participatory democracy.

Matthew obtained his PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2017, this applied the insights of agonistic pluralism to consider the nature of participatory democracy under the UK Localism Act (2011), principally neighbourhood planning. Matthew’s various publications in this area can be found alongside other useful contributions on the Crowd-sourced Neighbourhood Planning Bibliography.

Prior to joining the University of Reading, Matthew held research posts at the University of Sheffield and University College London.


  • PhD Sociology, University of Sheffield
  • MA Sociology and Management, University of Essex
  • BA (Hons) Social Policy and Sociology, University of Sheffield


Local governance; local government; planning; community participation; neighbourhood planning; localism; privatisation.

Recent conference papers

‘Local governance and the private sector: the role of consultants in the English planning system’, paper presented to Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Washington D.C., 4 April 2019.


View a full list of Dr Matthew Wargent's publications

Key Publications

Parker, G., Street, E. and Wargent, M. (2019) ‘Advocates, advisors and scrutineers: the technocracies of private sector planning in England’, in Raco, M. and Savini, F. (eds.) Planning and Knowledge: How New Forms of Technocracy are Shaping Contemporary Cities, Bristol, Policy Press. ISBN 978-1447345268.

Parker, G., Salter, K. and Wargent, M. (2019) Neighbourhood planning in practice, London, Lund Humphries. ISBN 978-1848222830.

Parker, G., Street, E. and Wargent, M. (2018) ‘The rise of the private sector in fragmentary planning in England’, Planning Theory & Practice, 19(5): 734-750. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2018.1532529

Wargent, M. and Parker, G. (2018) ‘Re-imagining neighbourhood governance: the future of neighbourhood planning in England’, Town Planning Review, 89(4): 379-402. https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2018.23.

Parker, G., Lynn, T. and Wargent, M. (2017) ‘Contestation and conservatism in neighbourhood planning in England: reconciling agonism and collaboration?’, Planning Theory & Practice, 18(3): 446-465. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2017.1316514.

Parker, G., Lynn, T. and Wargent, M. (2015) ‘Sticking to the script? The co-production of neighbourhood planning in England’, Town Planning Review, 86(5): 519-536. https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2015.31.

Parker, G., Lynn, T. and Wargent, M. (2014) User experience of neighbourhood planning in England, London, Locality.