Dr Christopher Maidment

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Engineering and the Built Environment

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Built environment

Chris is a chartered town planner, with a doctorate in planning and practice experience in local government, working on the development of new planning policy.



Chris joined the School of Engineering and the Built Environment in September 2017, having previously worked as a Planning Policy Officer for Bassetlaw District Council. Chris was part of the team working on The Bassetlaw Plan, going from a blank sheet of paper to a full set of ideas for a new Local Plan. Whilst at Bassetlaw, Chris was also involved in commissioning new evidence to underpin the Plan and talking to a range of other groups, including the public, parish councils and other local authorities.

Prior to this, Chris studied for his PhD at the University of Sheffield. His PhD draws on different ways in which the ‘public interest’ can be understood, and how these variations are present in plan-making.

Research interests

  • Plan-making
  • The relationship between theory and practice
  • Strategic planning
  • Professionalism in planning

At the core of Chris’ research interests is understanding the relationship between normative theories of planning and the practice environment; both how planning theory should shape practice and how practice should influence the development of theory.


Module Leader for:

  • Plan Making & Policy
  • Planning Principles & Concepts
  • Planning & Society
  • Sustainability & Environmental Management
  • Environmental Management for the Construction Industry


PhD Town & Regional Planning (September 2011–March 2016), The University of Sheffield

Thesis: Planning in the Public Interest? Looking for the ‘public interest’ in English plan-making
Taking the idea that planning is about accounting for collective interests, Chris’ thesis considers how this ‘public interest’ justification plays out in English plan-making practice. The fieldwork explored case studies of spatial plan-making in Central Lincolnshire and the Peak District National Park, using multiple qualitative methods. At the heart of the thesis is a theoretical framework that uses scale, in terms of time and geography, to bring together different meanings of the public interest. Chris was supervised by Heather Campbell and Andy Inch, and supported by a full scholarship from the University of Sheffield.

MA Town & Regional Planning (September 2010–September 2011), The University of Sheffield

BA (Hons) Geography & Planning with Employment Experience (September 2006–July 2010) , The University of Sheffield

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI, since June 2017)
  • Member of the RTPI East of England Regional Activities Committee
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Town & Country Planning Association
  • Member of the Regional Studies Association

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Alongside colleagues within the School, Chris is currently involved in two research projects:

Towards a Transformative Practice Framework: Planners, Professional Agency & Sustainable Urbanism
March 2018 - Present
The aim of this project is to evaluate UK planners’ agency in transforming policy on sustainable design and construction and the lessons this offers for reclaiming pro-active practices for future cities. The team has completed 41 semi-structured interviews with a range of mid-career (more than 7 years’ experience) and ‘legacy’ planners (more than 20 years’ experience), mainly working in the public sector. Interview themes included professional capacity, sustainability and the role of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Brandia: Developing a Resilience Informed Decision Making Framework for Sustainable Drainage Systems
October 2018 - Present
Brandia aims to develop a framework to encourage the incorporation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in urban planning. Working with partners in Brazil, India and the UK, the RIDMF is intended to be flexible to all three contexts, with a particular focus on embedding resilience and quality of life as decision-making criteria. My role is to bring an understanding of the social and political context; both thinking about quality of life can be embedded in the framework, and how the framework can be best designed to influence decision-making at multiple levels.

Selected recent publications

Maidment C., 2016. In the Public Interest? Planning in the Peak District National Park. Planning Theory, 15(4), p366-385.

Bache I., Kane M. and Maidment C., 2014. Student Connections: Enhancing Interaction in the Internationalised Learning Environment, A 3.4-2 In: Beerkens E., Magnan M., Söderqvist M. and van Liempd H.G. (Eds.) The Internationalisation of Higher Education Handbook. Berlin: Raabe Academic Publishers.

Blog Posts

Maidment C., 2017. #sheffvista 30 – Planning Policy Officer, Dr Chris Maidment. Think Ahead Blog (Last accessed 17th February 2019)

Maidment C., 2015. Evidence as a Passion Killer: The Need to Decouple the Everyday Experience of Place from a National Housing Crisis. Ways of Neighbourhood Working and Knowing: Seminar Series 2014-16 – Seminar Blogs (Last accessed 17th February 2019)

Recent presentations and conferences

Close A., Crookes L., Maidment C. (Chair), Odeleye N.D. and Sturzaker J., 2018, September. Planning Education: Fashion-forward or timeless classic? Roundtable at the 2018 Planning Research Conference, Sheffield, England.

Odeleye N.D., Maidment C. & Murtagh N., 2018, September. Planners, Professional Agency & Sustainable Urbanism: Past & Present Lessons for the Future. Presentation at the 2018 Planning Research Conference, Sheffield, England.

Maidment C., 2018, July. Timber Beds, Protests & Publics: Conflicting Meanings of the Public Interest on Devonshire Street, Sheffield. Presentation at the 2018 AESOP Congress, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Maidment C., 2016, September. Conceptualising the Plan as an Argument: The Key to Better Plan-making Practice? Presentation at the 2016 Planning Research Conference, Cardiff, Wales.

Maidment C., 2014, July. Planning in the Public Interest? Exploring the Use of the Public Interest in English Local Plan Making. Poster Presentation at the 2014 AESOP Congress, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Maidment C., 2013, September. Drawing on Temporal & Spatial Scale to Reconcile Dichotomous Understandings of the Public Interest. Presentation at the 2013 Planning Research Conference, Bristol, England.

Laurian L., Maidment C., Matilla H., Natarajan L., Purcell M., Vidyarthi S. and Tait M., 2013, July. Where is the Public Interest in Public Participation? Panel Session at the 2013 AESOP/ACSP Joint Congress, Dublin, Ireland.