Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Shrink the state for better planning law

Chris at Strange Stuff:
Where the power to control these decisions lying with the borough then the people of the borough would have a far greater importance in the decision making process. A single voter is of far greater importance at a local level where each individual makes up such a larger percentage of the total vote, and the money that large organisations can funnel into campaign funds to bribe politicians is no longer such a powerful weapon. Politicians do not need the massive amounts of money for mass advertising to reach a mass audience when operating at a scale where they can go around to each potential voter and personally try and persuade them.
Linked to my previous post on planning, far too many planning decisions are taken at the national level. In 1997, I took a new job as deputy manager of my then employers Exeter branch, and moved back to Devon from Salisbury. On my first day in the new job, it was announced that the owners of the shopping precinct we were in (Princesshay) had announced plans to bulldoze the place and redevelope, as it was, essentially, a rather ugly waste of space. I worked there. It was. There were those locally who objected the plans. It got appealed. It went all the way to Westminster. John Prescott made a decision. He said no. So it got redone. And redone again. Eventually, the developers got a plan that John liked, and the work started. Last year. EIGHT YEARS LATER.

Decentralise, make local councils, accountable to local people, make the decisions. Westminster should have nothing to do with local building projects and their rejection or approval. What, exactly, does the MP for Hull know about Exeter needs? Maybe a bit, but I guarantee it's not as much as Exeter City Councillors or Devon County.

Localise please.
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Anonymous said...

Quite right, but also strip National Parks of their planning powers. They seem to be charged with keeping large rural tracts of the countryside quaint but undeveloped in the interests of tourism and a few people who want to shoot fat stupid farmed pheasant. 

Posted by Peter McGrath

Anonymous said...

Not really my field, but it has always struck me as a little strange; I've a few friends on Dartmoor, and have heard of a few weird rulings.

Do think, for the most part, that it should be elected local authorities that make most decisions, regardless. 

Posted by MatGB