Perceiving strategic spatial planning as a usually supra-local exercise, this paper examines the extent to which five identified key functions of strategic spatial planning can be fulfilled where institutionalised under the regime gouvernance of city regions and localism. In England, such systems are reflected in the establishment of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and a Duty to Cooperate, which tries to engage local authorities in joint fulfilment of strategic planning functions. In response to often negative findings in the literature, this study adopted a ‘high potential’ approach to case study selection in the north-west region of England. The paper concludes that the five key functions of strategic spatial planning involving comprehensive insight, contextual judgements, political courage for consensus building, institution building and recognition of future opportunities and threats are generally not effectively fulfilled under regime governance and localism. The overarching suggestion is, therefore, a need to pursue alternative governance approaches. The paper ends with some initial comments on this.