03 August 2007

Planning Disaster

First the Government took away powers for planning from our elected local councils and gave them to unelected regional assemblies. Then, last December, the Barker Review of Land Use Planning called for a new national planning body to have the final say on major infrastructure projects such as power stations, with the aim of speeding up planning decisions. Now that ministers have incorporated this proposal into the Government's Planning White Paper, a coalition of the country's main environmental, conservation, and civic organisations with a collective membership in excess of 5,000,000 has published a map of where all the potential major developments could be built without local communities being properly consulted.

cars going nowhere fastExpecting to find bad news, I went to Planning Disaster — only to find that my nearest project is a local traffic bottleneck that would have been solved almost a decade ago had Labour not come to power in 1997, since when they have repeatedly and effectively indefinitely postponed the project. Sadly, even with a national planning body, I suspect we will still have to wait until we get a Conservative government again and/or regional assemblies are abolished and their powers returned to our elected local representatives before this development takes place.