This paper investigates the tension between the implementation of urban policy in the UK and global trends in culture and lifestyle as represented by the development of gated communities. The huge growth of gated communities in America has been well-documented, as have the concerns that their development represents a retreat by the affluent into privatised security, at the expense of society as a whole (Blakely and Snyder, 1999). In the US this process has sidestepped conventional forms of governance, both in terms of planning control and in the provision of services once the development is completed (McKenzie, 1994). Gated communities are being built in England, although not on the same scale. It is clear that developers here are seriously interested in this type of housing scheme, given their phenomenal success in the States (Webster, 2001) and that gated communities are spreading throughout the world (Ritzer, 1998). This paper uses a case study of a gated community currently being built in a city in the north of England, to investigate the extent to which decisions about the development and management of such schemes conform to government urban policy. We conclude that this form of housing is at odds with several key themes of stated policy. The paper goes on to look at why such schemes are built considering the impact of globalisation and by exploring the driving forces from the supply side through interviews with the developer and from the demand side through interviews with the residents. Finally we suggest that urban policy should consciously address the issues raised by this form of development, otherwise the market forces driving the trend will lead to a more divided, privatised and exclusive way of life without the repercussions being considered.