The studies of the 1970s present the local authority as in control of its pressure group environment. Pressure groups are brought into decision-making on a selective basis when they are in tune with a local authority's concerns. Drawing on evidence from Leicestershire and elsewhere we argue that from the late 1970s onwards many local authorities have created new opportunities for interaction with a wider range of better resourced pressure groups. Yet the tone of relations remains set by the local authority with its political preferences directing diverse development in different areas. From the mid-1980s onwards a number of factors have made the dominance of the local political arena by local authorities more problematic. We argue against those who see business leadership automatically stepping to the fore, but note the scope for increased influence from business and non-business pressure groups. Local authorities still have a number of resources and management strategies at their disposal and the pattern of local pressure group activity may continue to vary depending on the composition of the local political system.