I’ve been following, with growing alarm, the government’s proposals to overhaul the planning system and to effectively scrap the legislation that underpins it. My alarm comes from what could be seen as a simplistic, or even nieve, approach to the planning system by this government. Alternatively the more paranoid amongst us could see these changes as no more than a form of cronyism, designed to swell the bank accounts of landowners and developers, many of whom are more likely to be Tory supporters than not.
However, there may also be an additional reason why the government has decided to open the development flood gates. Recent newspaper headlines seem to suggest that government has given up trying to get the Treasury to ease its stranglehold on the economy and have now decided that dismantling the planning system is an easier option, using the drive for growth as the reason (excuse?).
Apparently David Cameron is having trouble persuading George Osborne that he needs to do his bit to encourage growth, through easing the tax burden on businesses. As the Chancellor of Exchequer appears to have more clout than any other minister, including the Prime Minister, it seems that the planning system is to be sacrificed instead.
Is building huge swaths of minimum quality housing and vast areas of souless industrial estates, the best way to do it? I doubt it and I doubt that our childrens’ children will think so either.