May says we’ve changed, Maude suggests not

Theresa May is making a valiant effort to shift the public’s view of the Tory Party, by being brave enough to go on the record, saying that the Party has changed and is no longer, ‘the nasty party’.

Unfortunately, Francis Maude seems hellbent on dispelling that view by laying in to the National Trust and by inference it’s many hundreds of thousands of supporters, including many Tories no doubt.

If you can’t bring yourself to read all of this pompous blurb, I’ve repeated the relevant section below.

‘………. Then, in the next breath, he is vowing to take on the unions, accusing the National Trust of peddling “bollocks” about planning reforms,……’

Only say nice things about Greg Clark’s ideas or else!

Be careful not to respond negatively to any consultation this government launches, especially when it involves the right honourable Greg Clark MP.

The National Trust and the CPRE have had the temerity to suggest that the National Planning Policy Framework, that is designed to replace all existing planning legislation, might cause major problem for rural areas. For having the nerve to say this, Greg Clark has laid in to them, accusing them of, ”Nihilistic Selfishness’ for opposing his planning reforms. I wonder if these bodies should take him to court under the Trade Descriptions Act, for even calling it a consultation?

So next time you respond to any sort of consultation make sure you only say nice things. Read the full story here:

Care to eat your words Mr Clark?

An excellent article in today’s Daily Telegraph from Clive Aslet, described as Editor at Large of ‘Country Life’. Editor at Large? Does that mean he works from home and drives around a lot?

None of the venom and spite we’ve seen from our illustrious leaders, Clark and Neill (Shapps seems to sensible enough to keep his head down for now). It’s a reasoned argument in favour of listening to the genuine concerns of those who care about our countryside. He also calls for the public consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework, to be treated as a genuine exercise and not the current sham suggested by the hysterical utterances Clark and Neill have spouted upon hearing that the National Trust and CPRE have concerns about the potential negative impact of the NPPF.
The best bit of the article for me, is a quote from a then Tory MP in opposition, Greg Clark. Upon hearing that the Labour Government wanted to see 6,000 houses built in Tunbridge Wells, Clark’s constituency, he said: “One of the delights of our area is that there is scarcely a neighbourhood that is not within a short walk of the green fields that surround us”. This is the self same minister now laying in to those who dare to challenge his new passion for covering those green fields in houses and factories.
No wonder politicians are often seen as cynical opportunists, ready to jump on the nearest passing bandwagon. I sincerely hope the members of the Tunbridge Wells Conservative Party are seeking answers from their local MP.

Time for a reality check at National Trust and CPRE

Once again, instead of listening to the genuine concerns of people, government ministers are choosing to spin these concerns in to claims of left wing extremists taking over two highly respected national charities.

Unfortunately, the organisations being accused,the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the National Trust, are ringing alarm bells, but without offering any suggestions on how to resolve the housing shortage. They could of course argue that their role isn’t to fill the void left by the scrapping of all national strategic planning guidance. However, given impending chaos that is about to befall the planning system, with the implementation of the National Planning Policy Framework, they should seriously reconsider their purist approach to our land use policies. Simply saying no, no, no is unlikely to achieve anything other than the government response experienced to date.

If these organisations believe that the areas of green belt currently being targeted for development are the wrong ones, then let them come up with some genuinely sustainable alternatives. Given the very real shortage of housing in this country, continuing to say no to everything, is simply not an option and just helps to make the government’s case for them.

The planning system and the open plan office

The trouble with reading the newspapers, is that you read stories that support your view of the world, but then go on to confirm that things haven’t changed or, are in fact, getting worse.

The first story that caught my attention today, is one about Bob Neill, the supposed minister for local government, laying in to the National Trust and the CPRE, for raising concerns about the proposed NPPF, accusing them of being ‘left wingers!’. Whilst I don’t agree with the extreme view of protecting the spaces between every city, town and village forever, I do agree that this government is going far too far with their plans to streamline the planning system.

Despite all the the hoo-haa, I fear that it will make little difference to a government that is far more committed to promoting the interests of developers, than promoting good quality design, let alone protecting us from urban sprawl.

The other story that caught my attention was one about open plan offices. They never seemed liked a great idea to me and now, apparently, we’re being told that they actually cause those working in them to become distracted and to work less efficiently. Pretty close to home this one, as I have experience of open plan in two different locations and they’re right – open plan offices are rubbish! Even worse, is when, as in one case I know, having decided an open plan office is okay, the management then decide to re-organise their staff in to the smallest space possible.