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How should local planning decisions be made?

09:34 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, is to announce reforms to the planning system in England giving more decision-making powers to local people. Do you welcome the reforms?

The Localism Bill is set to hand power over planning decisions from Whitehall to neighbourhood groups with communities being able to decide where new shops, offices or homes should go and what green spaces should be protected.

Local people would be able to vote on the plans for their communities in local referendums.

Mr Pickles said: "For far too long local people have had too little to say over a planning system that has imposed bureaucratic decisions by distant officials in Whitehall and the town hall."

Are the local planning reforms a good way of bringing power back to local communities? Would you like to vote in planning decisions for your area? Is decentralisation of planning decisions a good idea?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    In which case no solar farms, wind farms or anything useful will be built because the 'not in my backyard' brigade are going to have a field day.

  • Comment number 2.

    'Local people would be able to vote on the plans for their communities in local referendums.'

    Normally I'm all for increasing people power, but people can get a bit funny about improvements to their neighbours houses.

    Recently, in my road we've had 2 applications for planning permission, from different houses, one for a loft conversion and one just to fit skylights to the roof.

    Both applications have met with objections from the neighbours, for absolutely no logical reason I can think of.


    So maybe it would would be better for a neutral body to make these decisions rather than neighbours who objections may be more determined by envy than any practical reasons.

  • Comment number 3.

    At the moment planning decisions are very unaccountable to the wishes of the local community - some of you may recall a case highlighted by Sir Jimmy Saville of a wounded veteran asking to be allowed to build a bungalow in his parents' garden so he could live supported but independent. He had the support of all the neighbours but the planners refused until Saville waded in! Again, when local residents DON'T like what is being planned, their wishes are often ignored despite them being the ones most affected.

    However, do we really have the time and expertise to make informed judgements about what is best for the area in which we live? Perhaps direct election to a planning board of local representatives to work alongside planning professionals would be better.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sounds very much to me that it is reverting to what happened 50-60 years ago........a back-hander given to those on the planning committees and there you go. An open invitation for bribery and corruption.
    I wish that all decisions could be made by the people who live in the locality but I am afraid that the real decision will be made in the local Con club or Masonic Lodges.
    Will it mean that people can vote against airport extensions, supermarkets, road building etc etc or will any negative voting be overturned by government 'in the national interest.'?
    If there are to be things that locals cannot vote on then perhaps before we welcome this idea we are told specifically what they are.

  • Comment number 5.

    Another day, another laughable policy by the tories. Clearly an eton education is not all that its cracked up to be.

    All this does is give power to the NIMBYs. Nothing will ever get through planning. No houses will be built, no hospitals will be built, no schools will be built. How on earth are we going to support a rising population if we cannot provide extra services.

  • Comment number 6.

    While i agree that it would be beneficial for local people to have an input into local planning regulation i suspect nimbyism will rear its ugly head and a consensus would be difficult to reach regarding where that new supermarket will be built. One has to wonder if those with influence and money will have a disproportional say.

  • Comment number 7.

    As a disinterested party, I sat at a recent Town Council Committee Meeting, at which three planning applications in their various stages were on the agenda.

    What with running dialogues between the District Council, the County Council and the Town Council, it didn't take long to appreciate the amount of wallowing and red tape applicants have to suffer from people so remote from the area that they could not possibly begin to understand the nature of the applications they had made. It all sounded very much like jobsworths, job justification and jobs for the boys.

    The only people who should consider applications are those on the spot, armed with all the necessary environmental and social issues arising.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am battling the construction of a block of flats 8 feet from my window at the moment. I believe the local planner is corrupt; he swans around in a Jaguar xf and lives in a big house but only earns 30k per year.
    He makes crazy unsubstantiated leaps of logic.... for example the surface water drains where I live can't cope; the flats will put more pressure on them. He asked the water company about the drains, got no response so says there is no issue. The water company charge for surface water removal; of course they're not going to say they aren't doing it properly; everyone would demand a refund.
    I am hopeful I can have the flats pulled down once they violate my window's right to light.

  • Comment number 9.

    If it helps to stop useless, blighting wind farms then I'm all for it. But... I suspect it will just lead to more bribery and corruption.

  • Comment number 10.

    Inevitably, in any community, there is a small cohort of meddlesome interfering busybodies, who are prepared to concern themselves about any local matter, however petty.
    Woe betide anyone in my village, rash enough to want a conservatory, new garage or garden-wall. As soon as the little yellow notice appears on the lamp-post by their home, out of the woodwork come the spoilers, the wreckers, of other people's ambitions for a better life.
    And why do they do it? Why do they climb on such a high horse, for something that doesn't affect them in the slightest? Because they can - simple as that!
    Eric Pickles is granting these awful people a meddler's charter.

  • Comment number 11.

    "How should local planning decisions be made" is the HYS question.

    Post #07 @ 10:27am on 18 Nov - 'milvusvestal'.

    I think this post just about sums up the frustration of ordinary people that Eric Pickles needs to address.

  • Comment number 12.

    Load of rubbish. This wont include new roads etc, which under the Tories is always an issue. In Lancaster a new bypass has been given the go-ahead, despite campaigners raising objections for decades. It will cost hundreds of millions and destroy a huge chunk of the countryside. Cuts, what cuts?

  • Comment number 13.

    How should local planning decisions be made?

    Locally.

  • Comment number 14.

    Megan @ 3 wrote - At the moment planning decisions are very unaccountable to the wishes of the local community. I would disagree with you on this one because currently people can object to planning applications. In current legislation if there are more than 3 objections then it has to go to full council committee approval and not under CEO delegated powers to proceed.

    Under new plans if (whatever the % will be) say 75% of the neighbourhood agree that there should be a new housing development or a wind farm next to your house then it would be fast tracked with no local authority input with the development going ahead.

    Planning rules are there to protect people and the average person would not have the time or the required knowledge to make planning judgements. I would suggest most people are out the protect their way of life, for most that’s little or no development, let’s keep things the way they are so my suggestion is that there will be little or no development. In turn smaller communities with die as the population gets older and younger people move away, amenities close down, which in turn will give people more to moan about.

    THIS HOWEVER IS THE BIG POINT IS– This government with its localism bill is getting you – THE PEOPLE – to do the work of skilled people FOR FREE. They then can make people redundant so they can become nosey parkers on the doll where you live and object to your new conservatory.

  • Comment number 15.

    How would this proposal affect National Projects? As an example, HS2, the new high speed rail link from London to Birmingham and Manchester. There must be hundreds of "neighbourhood groups" on the proposed route. What chance is there of the line ever being built? Sounds like zero to me, there would have to be agreement on every single metre of route before a start could be made, and even then if someone somewhere changed their mind you could end up with a couple of kilometre's missing in the middle of the line.

    Unworkable.

  • Comment number 16.

    Only one problem with it, and I would suggest it is why it has been suggested. All the crap will end up away from the more affluent areas, why? The fact that people who are more affluent is usually because they are better educated, if you are intellectually more able you can usually bamboozle the less educated. Being a very corrupt nation, those at the top of societies ladder can usually buy their wayout of or into an agreement to suit themselves. Having said that, if any one of us had the money or leverage, we would use those tools to prevent something we didn't like being plonked on our doorstep. The only safe way of planning is by way of community employed, skilled planners and not the overpaid lacky pals of council chiefs that seem to exist in some councils.

  • Comment number 17.

    The County Council(or it's urban equivalent) is the Local Planning Authority. It is the body responsible for implementing the Planning Laws.
    I don't see what Pickles motivation is on this issue, unless he is trying to circumvent the local authority.
    Which would fit in with this coalition's agenda.
    There are a number of strategic projects which need to go ahead, despite local objections, how is he going to deal with those?

  • Comment number 18.

    10. At 10:43am on 18 Nov 2010, Harwode Magna wrote:
    Inevitably, in any community, there is a small cohort of meddlesome interfering busybodies,
    ..........................................................


    The whole big society policy is about giving power to meddlesome interfering busybodies.

  • Comment number 19.

    HYS - "How should local planning decisions be made?":

    by the People - Via the Councils - NOT the other way round:

    We've all wondered at the many 'projects' that our Councils have undertaken. I'm glad that now - AT LAST - the Taxpayers may have a bigger say in what those future 'projects' will be.

    Councils could liaise better re: proposed/suggested 'projects' via the locally-delivered 'Council Magazine'. They could effectively hold mini-referendums in this way.

    Come on Councils - add a section in your 'self-promoting' Magazine asking for 'project' suggestions - and base your decisions on your TAXPAYERS response - THAT is real Democracy...

  • Comment number 20.

    So everyone and his dog is now an expert planner!

  • Comment number 21.

    Rain dancing?

  • Comment number 22.

    This will all be done to benefit the tory wealthy.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh great so they want to hand more power to the NIMBYs to reject planning applications for no reason other than they don't want to noise of the traffic during construction. Planning was fine as it was, at least you had half a clue about the councillors vested interests.

  • Comment number 24.

    'local' should mean 'local and minor', extensions to houses, walls being built and the like are best left with local communities to determine, but if local communities groups such as Parish Councils, who in the main do a great job, can stop developments that are strategically necessary for the nation then the idea is bonkers. We will never advance as a nation if new rail lines, power stations, roads and the like can be halted or at worst cancelled if a few object, on such items the nation's needs must have priorities over local opinion.

  • Comment number 25.

    Trainee Anarchist wrote:
    Sounds very much to me that it is reverting to what happened 50-60 years ago........a back-hander given to those on the planning committees and there you go. An open invitation for bribery and corruption.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    50 or 60 years ago, are you sure? In my home town in Kent, we have recently has imposed on us a mini version of one of the top supermarket chains, despite the public consultation process returning 95% not in favour. The chief planning officer who approved it is in prison for taking bribes from a local golf club in relation to another planning application.

  • Comment number 26.

    The Councillors are elected by the community to act on their behalf and try to ensure that the community views are fairly represented in the council planning and decision making. There has to be balance, while we need to be careful not to grant NIMBYs too much power, we also need to ensure that the whole community views and opinions are represented. This change will add some accountability to the to elected council members who are not listening to the community who elected them.

  • Comment number 27.

    Local planning decisions are only as democratic as the over-complicated tiny print hidden advertisments placed by your District Council, Borough Council, Town Council, Parish Councl or Central Council in free news papers.

    If you don't get free newspapers or don't visit all the above websites on a regular basis, that only do PDF, then you will have no idea what's going on in your name.

    As for those very expensive glossy newletters from your Central Councils to promote Chief Executives ... and those equally expensive newsletters from your Parish/Town councils.... don't get me started!

  • Comment number 28.

    I think this is simply a ploy to enable the landowning rich to get richer still by turning Green Belt farming into building land. I'm sure CPRE, Open Spaces Society etc. will be swinging into action as I write.

    Planning is already controlled locally. Each LA has a list of democratically decided objectives against which applications are compared.

    What the proposal will mean is that a local clique may be able to get their way against the wishes and interests of the wider community. It will be little to do with amenity, and much with money (as usual). This is potentially highly reckless.

  • Comment number 29.

    What really is disconcerting about this coalition is how they are tearing everything up because of political dogma, not neccessarily for the best interests of those most affected.

    Furthermore, what they are doing is either scrapping or replacing what has been in place but without actually coming up with a stategy, a clearly defined policy...how it will work, how much it will cost, who will manage it, how issues will be dealt with.

    Everything it seems is a case of reverse what we had...and let's see what happens...it's more like a do nothing or suck it and see option.

    The problem with this particular change is it's more to do with presentation than substance...tell people you are going to give them more say...(to get them notionally on your side), then when they do try to excerise their right and you don't agree with them, then bypass them.

    Some councils for many years now have been claiming to already do this.

    My experience, so far is, they go through the motions of consultation...then do exactly what they and business or influential constituents want, behind closed doors.

    This actually makes people even more cynical with a feeling of having no say....

    You begin to wonder why we will need Government at all...they want to abandon all responsibilty for everything, with decentralisation, big society, end of NHS, welfare, defence...what's left.

    But I bet they'll still ensure their are 650+ windbags in Westminster - with gold plated careers.



  • Comment number 30.

    There has already been extensive planning discussions about the role of local communities becoming involved in planning decisions. Those of you who are really interested can sign up for in-depth learning about this subject.
    Here is an example of one website that will lead you to further opportunities of developing an understanding of the role of government through to the role of community leaders.
    https://skills.homesandcommunities.co.uk/understanding

  • Comment number 31.

    Er - susie127 - it will, hopefully, stop useLESS wind farms and solar farms being built.
    Unless you are personally going to blow on the blades or shine a bright light on the solar panels, the efficiency of these things will remain around 20%, and will STILL only work when the wind blows or the sun shines - and NOT when the electricity is needed.
    As the Germans and the Dutch have discovered, wind farms actually INCREASE CO2, due to the way that the backup generating capacity has to be managed to take account of the erratic and occasional output from these monstrosities - so any feelings that they are 'saving the planet' are totally misplaced.

  • Comment number 32.

    Most people are unaware of planning permission applications unless they keep an eagle eye on the local press or access their parish council website or similar. Although notices are posted with all details, few paople read them especially if they are off the beaten track.

  • Comment number 33.

    How about starting with "locally" and with "common sense"!

    Communities need balance for all needs and not concreted over spaces with houses and cars on top of each other.

    I'd like to see a return to housing developments, where the number of bedrooms would be directly proportional to the number of off street carparking spaces provided.

    Too many developments are packed in too tightly with seemingly little of no thought about how and where residents will park.

    On a commercial level, why continue to develop more commercial space if there are already empty spaces available.

    And finally how about a consideration for local services before allowing large developments to go ahead?

    Why allow more Supermarkets to open if there are sufficient available. No Supermarket to have a monopoly (i.e. there must be competition/choice).

  • Comment number 34.

    It's not as simple as deciding who makes the decisions - although I would not agree with local decisions as someone has already pointed out infrastructural stufff like windfarms, roads and "new towns" would never get past planning even though the local community really needs them. All this would be rejected on grounds of NIMBYism.

    The other problem is that once a decision is made who enforces the consent. Where I live in Havant many developers routinely ignore any planning conditions/constraints, do their own thing and then retrospectivly apply for permission. They seem to get away with it and know how to "work the system". In these instances local people don't really have a view worth listening to and so these retrospectives get approved even though they initially broke the planning consent conditions.

    The planning process needs to be more regulated and not less so - giving this to local people will only serve to create a huge (bigger) mess !!

  • Comment number 35.

    The Tories angered a lot of their voters by designating domestic gardens as Greenfield rather than Brownfield sites, when the latter hoped to get rich by selling them as building land.

    They are now trying to get a few back on side by suggesting that, where there's a will, there will be a way to get round this, as well as Green Belt restrictions.

    This ties in well with the thread on our disappearing heritage.

  • Comment number 36.

    18. At 11:16am on 18 Nov 2010, frankiecrisp wrote:

    The whole big society policy is about giving power to meddlesome interfering busybodies."

    No change from Labour then...

    The best way for planning to be streamlined is for the range of things that can be done without going through the whole process to be increased. That way the planners can concentrate on the big jobs.

    I'm against communuities being able to veto plans - but maybe they should be able to either consent to them or pass them to the planners. So the NIMBYs would have no more power than now, but if the community agrees to something within their remit, then it doesn't need planning approval

  • Comment number 37.

    Any chance we can have a Scottish version too?

    Glasgow City Council recently approved a development of yet another Tesco local despite receiving over 600 objections including an objection from the local Community Council.

    So much for people power!

  • Comment number 38.

    How should local planning decisions be made?

    Centrally. The average Brit is either a nymbyist busybody or an idiot. Either way, local people should be totally excluded from local planning decisions.

  • Comment number 39.

    Until a working man is allowed to buy his own land and build his own house
    we are nothing but slaves to the banks and bound to interest on mortgages on house prices which cost ten times what they cost to build.
    The Planning laws exist solely for the purpose of enslaving us in to debt.

  • Comment number 40.

    I fully agree.
    In my town, a building company has been pushing to develop a greenbelt area but the local residents have objected and the borough council rejected the proposal. So, the builders have gone to some national authority and some nameless, faceless official from Bristol approved the proposal without even visiting the area or consulting with the council or residents.

  • Comment number 41.

    I welcome more local control over planning

    Local councils should have the "Final" say (ie a VETO) over whether houses, shops or offices should be built in their area.

    For larger infra-structure projects eg powerstations, motorways, railways. These do need central government involvement with local consultation but not a veto.

    I am skeptical if these proposals will deliver this, in particular the veto over building houses shops and offices. The devil will be in the small print. Currently, developers call bully local authorities with the threat of expensive court action. I hope this may change things, will wait and see.

  • Comment number 42.

    Definitely ,planing should be done at a local level by local people ..
    In the case of many councils it will stop back handers if they are offered... enough said .
    it will also widen the planning applications beyond the views of council planners ... It should also reduce cost and promote the area in some cases

  • Comment number 43.

    The problem with giving local people more say is that it never works quite in that way. Most people can't be bothered to engage, so its left to those who shout the loudest - typically the "no" camp - to have their say, form their committees, action groups, protest groups and get their voices heard. With planning its always a "no" - when was the last time you heard of a local group campaigning for "yes" to more houses, more prosperity, more support for local businesses and growth for the area? I really worry about David Cameron's "big society" idea - to me it sounds like a NIMBY's charter.

  • Comment number 44.

    Another joke. Most planning applications are decided on vested interest and financial gain. The decision is always "approved" and in most cases the decision is "delegated" that means an officer decides without discussion or reasons. Democracy in action. In the very few cases which are patently wrong and a refusal is made, the applicant goes on appeal to a Planning appeal 100 miles away and more from the site in question and there approval is invariably given choose what. We had a "back development" approved behind us on appeal a huge 4 bed property and detached double garage on a very small plot. Dominating the lanscape destroying old orchard a dangerous access to a main road. The condition was it had to have a "dedicated 4 bike cycle store". Couldn't stop laughing for weeks. The housegot built, no cycle store !! The Planning Dept wouldn't explain or answer letters as to why not.
    Often decisions are subject to "conditions". Conditions are seldom enforced or enforceable. Another house built 4 years ago in a garden at the other side of us was required to leave the large hedge and 2 holly trees as a condition of approval to form a screen. This summer they were taken down. On complaint to the Council they took 4 weeks to appear and then said as the approval was 4 years old the condition really wasn't worth enforcing now. So why have conditions then?
    Pickles can say what he likes it will not make a scrap of difference the only thing that will influence decisions is money. Quality of life where people live no chance. The only people who have the quality of life are those who ruin others by developing gardens around them and trading up.
    This is just more hot air from the Administration of the moment.

  • Comment number 45.

    "39. At 12:41pm on 18 Nov 2010, yorkshire News wrote:
    Until a working man is allowed to buy his own land and build his own house we are nothing but slaves to the banks.....

    --------------

    You ARE allowed to.

  • Comment number 46.

    If it wasnt for Whitehall our local town would be dominated by over 10 Tescos stores and not 1 Asda. Thankfully with Whitehalls intervention we are now having a new Sainsburys.

    Our local planning authority seems to reject every large scale project to improve the town with very flaky reasons, i.e. not enough jobs ? no demand ?. These are multi million pound projects would enhance bognor and the pier,instead our town is rotting because our local town planners.

    Sadly local planners are not the best decision makers and sometimes seem to be influenced by other factors than what local people actually want.

  • Comment number 47.

    5. At 10:23am on 18 Nov 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    Another day, another laughable policy by the tories. Clearly an eton education is not all that its cracked up to be.

    All this does is give power to the NIMBYs. Nothing will ever get through planning. No houses will be built, no hospitals will be built, no schools will be built. How on earth are we going to support a rising population if we cannot provide extra services.
    ================================================
    No surprise with this comment. As usual, the left wing version of giving power to the people is giving power to the political apparatchiks. Heaven forbid that actual citizens can make decisions.

  • Comment number 48.

    Like most things in broken Britain, the whole process, whether local or national is flawed with protesters and NIMBY's having to much power to delay or stop important decisions.

    Who will decide on nuclear?? No one will make the decision, so we will all freeze in 10 yrs time.

    Round my way, housing plots are waived through by the councils, who won't build any roads, so the whole are is virtually gridlocked in rush hours .... no jobs for all these house owners mean they all commute on roads built and planned in the 1950's.

  • Comment number 49.

    I see comments regarding the Nimbys but the greatest threat to neighbourhoods, the environment, and so on, comes from tbe BIMBYs - Build in my back yard. These can be groups of individuals all agreeing to sell their gardens and overruling objections from the local community. They will be supported by the council, builders and develoipers, and will find it more easier to build where there is no infrasturcture.

  • Comment number 50.

    Local planning power should be handed over to local inhabitants. I live in Dulwich Village London where the local 'planning officer' - I believe - has destroyed the village-look by granting permission to attach the most ghastly modern extensions to old characterful buildings. I would never have allowed the modern extensions because in time the area will loose the very charm that attracted me to the village in the first place.

  • Comment number 51.

    The problem with planning at the moment is that Local Councils do not listen to what local people want. They usually give way to big developers, despite local objections and even petitions.

    Councillors who sit on planning committees are usually persuaded to accept plans by unelected planning officers. It's virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to persuade planning committees to over-rule their own officers. At a public planning meeting, an objector is given just a couple of minutes to state their case, whereas the officer reporting to the committee can waffle on for as long as they like, and then have a right to reply after an objector has spoken.

    If Mr Pickles is serious about giving more 'power to the people', this should mean Councils should be legally forced to axe any plans that do not have public support.

    Currently, local councils are the problem - not the solution.

  • Comment number 52.

    This is the NIMBYs' Charter.

    The rich will use it to restrict the supply of housing to keep prices high and force out the serfs.

    Same old Tories.

  • Comment number 53.

    Planing permission problem is simple say OK to everything.When nothing green is left we can go to Ireland property prices there are not bad at the moment

  • Comment number 54.

    To Steve Edwards: please leave your Eton chip on the shoulder out of it. Giving power to the people is what true democracy is all about. I want a say in as much as I can cope with - and especially if I'm paying for it. It's time for you socialists to comprehend that democrats don't want to be controlled by the so-called 'intellectual elite'.

  • Comment number 55.

    Ah, but how local is local. In my town (Seaton, Devon) more than 80% of us have consistently voted against a development by a particular supermarket. However, we have been over-ruled by our district council and been forced to have it. If local REALLY means "neighbourhood" then fine, if it means leaving things to a district council, forget it - they have areas that they favour and areas that they like to dump unwanted developments.

  • Comment number 56.

    39. At 12:41pm on 18 Nov 2010, yorkshire News wrote:
    Until a working man is allowed to buy his own land and build his own house
    we are nothing but slaves to the banks and bound to interest on mortgages on house prices which cost ten times what they cost to build.
    The Planning laws exist solely for the purpose of enslaving us in to debt.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    It might seem that way to people struggling but not so. It's to prevent shanty towns and lots of Bhopals springing up amongst other things. Or do I assume you'd support the Roma setting up a temporary community, or Union Carbide building a chemical plant on vacant land near your home?



  • Comment number 57.

    Where I live - every blade of grass has now been built on. With the demolition of two churches, an large estate on a former factory site, the rugby ground and ever a playing field was not saved.

    Single dwellings with gardens have been demolished to build small estates of houses.

    Now we have large detached houses being built in the gardens of small bungalows, completely dwarfing the original dwelling, and leaving hardly any garden around it.

    Just what do people have to do to confirm to their local planning committee - that enough is enough

  • Comment number 58.

    49. At 1:08pm on 18 Nov 2010, Dr Llareggub wrote:
    I see comments regarding the Nimbys but the greatest threat to neighbourhoods, the environment, and so on, comes from tbe BIMBYs - Build in my back yard. These can be groups of individuals all agreeing to sell their gardens and overruling objections from the local community.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bullseye. See my earlier posts.

  • Comment number 59.

    Let's knock on the head this idea that a "planning conditions" is a condition - it is not. A planning condition can be broken at any time. Then it is up to the local authority to decide whether or not to enforce it. When deciding, it can take into account how much local authority money would be used in fighting it. If they think it is too much, they don't bother with enforcement - th bigger the developer, the more likely the cost will be high. This WILL NOT change even if you do get local planning decisions.

    What we REALLY need is the option for third-party objections to planning decisions. At the moment if Supermarket A gets permission to build a massive superstore by Council B no-one at all can object for any reason whatsoever, except if they can prove that something illegal has been done, in which case they can go to judicial review - cost at least £70,000 upfront. However, if Council B refuses permission to Supermarket A, they CAN appeal, and often win because they have the resources to do so and the council puts up little defence, as that would cost. Where is the fairness in that?

  • Comment number 60.

    This is a troll's charter and I'm all for it. I'm going to object to random planning applications when this comes in, just to annoy people, from hospitals to people's conservatories. Bring it on!

  • Comment number 61.

    Recommend post #51 - so-called local councils are indeed the problem.

  • Comment number 62.

    Steve Edwards

    Said as usual, the left wing version of giving power to the people is giving power to the political apparatchiks. Heaven forbid that actual citizens can make decisions.

    People can make their own minds up and are entitled to their opinion...and gues what there can even been consensus with groups of people from all political persuasions....

    Just to prove the point...Our CC has allowed a development Co. a third planning proposal to build 1250 new homes.

    Problem is it's (a) a flood plain (b) there are no plans contained in the proposal to include infrastructure to support the development.

    Two borough councils in the county who are most affected 1 LibDem the other Conservative...oppose it. Tens of thousands of constituents of all political opinion have opposed it.

    The CC who are Conservative support it unreservedly. The Conservative MP will not intervene, he states it's not the role of an MP to interfere.

    God forbid - they let the people decide.....

    I'm not entirely against the development - but why are the CC continuing to allow further proposals.....it's in the wrong place and there is no provision to support it.

    This is not about left wing versus right wing or any other wing....

  • Comment number 63.

    # 49 Dr Llareggub wrote:

    "I see comments regarding the Nimbys but the greatest threat to neighbourhoods, the environment, and so on, comes from tbe BIMBYs - Build in my back yard."

    You are quite right. Once green spaces and back gardens have been crammed full of new development, that land is gone for good. The motivation is not some altruistic aim to provide 'affordable' homes, but the sheer greed of developers who want to build over every inch of grass. Local councils tend to approve these back-yard developments because more overcrowding means more council tax for them.

    Local councils are the problem.

  • Comment number 64.

    55. At 1:16pm on 18 Nov 2010, jurassicflood wrote:

    "Ah, but how local is local. In my town (Seaton, Devon) more than 80% of us have consistently voted against a development by a particular supermarket. However, we have been over-ruled by our district council and been forced to have it. If local REALLY means "neighbourhood" then fine, if it means leaving things to a district council, forget it - they have areas that they favour and areas that they like to dump unwanted developments."

    If 80% are against it then, despite steamrollering it through, you should be able to force a closure by simply getting that 80% to not shop there. Saying that, the damage will already be done by then.

  • Comment number 65.

    post #43 - you say most local people can't be bothered to engage.

    To some extent that may be true, but most people have no idea what their layer upon layer of local government and their incompetent representatives are up to?

  • Comment number 66.

    //52. At 1:11pm on 18 Nov 2010, BaldLea wrote:
    This is the NIMBYs' Charter.

    The rich will use it to restrict the supply of housing to keep prices high and force out the serfs.

    Same old Tories.//

    No. The real problem is that housing is being built to accommodate a rising population.

    NIMBYism is where people want the service, but not in their back yard. But very few people actually wanted the immigration that's wrecking our environment in the first place.

    When new housing gets built round our way, it's mainly taken by people following the BBC's advice, and 'escaping to the country'.

    The BBC has consistently lied saying that we 'needed' immigration. We don't. They are still lying by denying when discussing housing need. They never admit that paving over our countryside isn't good for the environment. They never admit that the 'need' comes largely from immigration driven population growth.

    Instead, they happily do programmes like 'Escape to the Country'. They've even just done one which featured BBC 'celebs' doing just that. The kind of people who preach at us about the joys of happy clappy multiculturalism are remarkably keen to get to the hideously white rural areas, as far away from the mess they've inflicted on the rest of us, as soon as they can.

    So, no, it's not nimbyism. People are entirely right not to want to bear the consequences of a policy they never wanted in the first place.

  • Comment number 67.

    This seems to be a fairly sensible and fair idea, BUT I do hope they put in some sort of clause that states 60% or more households effected on the street must raise their objection by vote in order to stop the proposed construction. The trouble is some busy-bodies just have too much time on their hands and will object just for the hell of it sometimes.

  • Comment number 68.

    Recently all getting together to object an over ambitious development in our locality, we got it on the agenda for members consideration. We were told, one person only could speak for 3 minutes on behalf of themself or all but only one person was allowed to speak. There were to be no questions, no request for clarification, no right of redress or further discussion in relation to what was said at the meeting. Officers and members spoke for 1.25 hours. 28 people in the gallery shared 3 minutes via one person and was shut up in mid sentence as 3 mins expired.......democracy in action power to the people...........don't make me laugh you can't even have a reasonable say where the decisions get made.

  • Comment number 69.

    3. At 10:14am on 18 Nov 2010, Megan wrote:

    At the moment planning decisions are very unaccountable to the wishes of the local community - some of you may recall a case highlighted by Sir Jimmy Saville of a wounded veteran asking to be allowed to build a bungalow in his parents' garden so he could live supported but independent. He had the support of all the neighbours but the planners refused until Saville waded in! Again, when local residents DON'T like what is being planned, their wishes are often ignored despite them being the ones most affected.

    However, do we really have the time and expertise to make informed judgements about what is best for the area in which we live? Perhaps direct election to a planning board of local representatives to work alongside planning professionals would be better.


    Backlands development (houses in back gardens etc) is banned in many areas because it causes a whole host of problems. Not least is that it sets a precedent, "if they're allowed to build a house in their back garden then I demand the same right" so neighbours start putting in applications to build houses in their back gardens to sell for a profit, It can result in what is known as "town cramming" where you end up with a greater housing density than the area can cope with plus a whole host of other problems. Tandem development, a form of backlands development where a house is built in a back garden and the two houses share access, is particularly frowned upon and with good reason.
    In the case you describe my inclination would have been to give permission for a temporary dwelling which had to be knocked down when the need for it ended but that can be difficult because the owners simply sell and the new owner rightly says he isn't bound by that agreement.
    Giving people more planning power to local people is a good thing but people need to get and listen to expert guidance or they're likely to end up regretting it.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Yes I think local people should have a say, the bureaucracy is horrendous and most of it is there to filch money from the voters, people know what they want and more importantly, don’t want in their area and once they get use to making decisions for themselves for a change, it should benefit the whole community.

  • Comment number 72.

    This should be a good move to reverse decades of dumb planning or more accurately the lack of it.

    A simple example, recent housing estates where no effort has been made to provide houses suitable for renewable energy and electric cars, despite knowing the changes were coming for some decades.

    Over development of centres leading to pedestrian congestion (never mind cars) and fragmented shopping areas making the enforced park and ride impractical for efficient shopping, thus damaging the economy.

  • Comment number 73.

    It just means nothing will get done. Maybe the government knows this and will save money as a result. Perhaps so they can bail out Ireland with money we apparently don't have.

  • Comment number 74.

    Quote: If 80% are against it then, despite steamrollering it through, you should be able to force a closure by simply getting that 80% to not shop there. Saying that, the damage will already be done by then."

    Actually, we favoured another supermarket which felt was offering us a better deal. But because the first supermarket owned a large amount of land in the town and the second one didn't we were made to go with the district's choice.

    Maybe with the new Localism Bill some people will get what we didn't - a choice that they can make rather than others.

    If there are enough incentives offered to build the houses, shops, etc people will vote for them - but the incentives are things like new schools, new leisure facilities, soctor's surgeries, swimming pools, sports fields, etc - just have a bidding war and we can say Yes or No.

  • Comment number 75.


    I am sure that many back-hand deals occur, swaying decisions and plans.
    My Local Council certainly has done some "unethical transactions" in the past.

    If you were to put "bribery and corruption" onto my words, while it might be politically incorrect for ME to say or write it... Your words may not be far off the mark.

    Some local councils listen more to money than "customer issues".
    I do not see this changing because Central Government slopes shoulders.

  • Comment number 76.

    Government long term social and economic objectives depend upon holding on to current investment from overseas and attracting far more in the future. The South East is the honey pot but will it respond to the call for new homes in the tens of thousands, flag-ship business premises and the attendant smaller units for start-up and home-grown expansion, road transport infrastructure in good order and a positive approach towards development, evironmentally sustainable where possible but not at the expense of commercial viability.

    However, turkeys don't vote for Christmas and 'locals' will not, of their own volition, choose a programme of that nature. Coalition politicians will, in the near future, be fighting like cats for control of local authorities and none will want to take the lead in radical change to our outlook.

    Oh! there will be numerous examples of councils co-operating with central government on a relatively small scale - nothing too harmful or likely to frighten the voters. Central government will, I believe, fall back upon effective top-down processes through regional and local bodies if national wellbeing is the imperative.

  • Comment number 77.

    The NIMBY's are going to have fun with this. In a world where Britain is losing its market share by the day to Asia we should be looking at taking away local control and a large percentage of democracy in the planning process to ensure that the strategic (Survival) needs of the country can be quickly met. I have been reviewing some of our local planning decisions here in Kent and it is quite pathetic to see industry struggling at every turn in attempt to expand. A classic example was the proposed Imperial College research establishment near Ashford. Local people did not like the idea so the idea was ditched. No wonder Ashford station now is only "international" by name and not by deed.

  • Comment number 78.

    //65. At 1:37pm on 18 Nov 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    post #43 - you say most local people can't be bothered to engage.

    To some extent that may be true, but most people have no idea what their layer upon layer of local government and their incompetent representatives are up to?//

    Good point. The system is designed to allow the incompetent local government machine, the borderline corrupt local govt officers and the incompetent, self-serving councillors, to get their way.


    The whole thing is arranged so that they and their cronies in the building industry get to build crap housing on green fields.

    I'm amazed that the Greens and other organisations which profess to be concerned about the environment aren't focussing on urban sprawl as an issue. But they're so wedded to immigration that they can't admit that they've actually supported one of the most environmentally disastrous policies you could imagine.

    And in doing so, they've made themselves allies of big business and anti-democratic, anti-environmental, housing companies and local governmemt.

    I can't help thinking this is why people are so apathetic about local government, and so unwilling to vote for the Greens, who got less votes than the BNP last time round, if I recall correctly.

  • Comment number 79.

    Disaster! Yes - as others have said - this policy is a NIMBYs charter. Of course nobody wants anything built in their "back yard". But most people are against development of any sort - anywhere near them. They don't want any green areas built on, and would rather everything stayed exactly as it is now! Local councillors acting on planning committees; usually elderly men who are retired with a mindset to match, who want to get re-elected - just go along with the NIMBY views of their electorates.

    So - this will slow development right down, which will have serious consequences all round. It's very often only on the back of development that new roads get built, community facilities are improved, schools get built and so on. Critical mass is needed in any settlement to make sure communities are viable, shops can trade, leisure facilities are sufficiently used and so on. A whole sections of the economy, from construction workers to people who sell kitchens and carpets - need homes to be built.

    Eric Pickles is undertaking a very dangerous experiment which in the name of local democracy will see a serious slow down in development, harm done to local economies and the inevitable rise in house prices for the already well-off that will follow a period of slow house building.

    This is bad news.

  • Comment number 80.

    There is a housing shortage and how is this going to help? All of the NIMBY's will object to anything. Moreover, this will ONLY enrich those on the planning committees and planning officers.

    It's is impossible to knockdown a god aweful 70's small house and build something new (small), yet a developer can stick a block of flats on some land not much bigger!! I wonder why?!

    BTW this is not a anti-developer rant - they take the risk they make the money.

  • Comment number 81.

    I agree with Littletenter

    This is more of a political gimic than one of giving people their say...devolving real democracy to the people.

    I also suspect there is an element of central government jettisoning areas of responsibility they don't quite enjoy....passing the buck and flak to others.

    Like him I have had first hand experience, councils, restrict any public debate and consultation time to an absolute minimum - to ensure it is completely ineffective. They say it is in the interests of getting all the business done. They give the audience 5 minutes, no follow up questions, then spend the next 2 hours and 55 minutes discussing if the county council should go ahead with a christmas party....no this is not a joke, I watched it happen.

    Sometimes they suggest a survey...the public have no say in working with the council to come up with the questions...the Council craft them to get the answer they want. We complained about the pavements and verges not being maintained - which the County Council are responsible for. They completely and deliberately changed the issue to one of car parking.

    On another matter, of providing a school crossing, first result produced an 89% result in favour of what local residents wanted. So they issued a second survey to a wider area. When they got the results back this time, the people not affected swung the result back in the CC's favour.

    The devil is in the detail...but don't hold your breath this political gimic will make any difference.

  • Comment number 82.

    Great idea in theory if your talking about house extensions and small domestic matters.

    For all the 'big ticket' items of national importance... you know the ones that people are quite vocal about the importance of having... new rail lines, the infrastructure needed to get more freight on rail, nuclear power or renewable energy (wind turbines), large factories that will encourage inward investment and employ people, better roads and infrastructure connectivity.... Forget it.

    Everyone wants them and sees that they are for the national good, but nobody wants them next to their property. Put the decision making in the hands of local communities and any nationally significant and important infrastructure will simply not get built, or if it does, will cost multiples of what it might have done thanks simply to the drawn out planning process that will proceed them.... which clearly means an inward investor is likely to look elsewhere where it is easier, simpler and cheaper to invest.

    The conservatives have some good ideas... this isn't one of them.

  • Comment number 83.

    One problem with the current plannning setup can be seen on a journey up the M1/A1 from London to Edinburgh. You move from 6 lane to 4 lane motorway, dual carriage way to two-lane road and back again, why, local planning objections.

  • Comment number 84.

    Call me an old fashioned cynic...but this will be another can of worms...unworkable...that will slowly fade away, an expensive white elephant.

    It will be nightmare to manage, administer......

    Will a referendum include eveyone in every household.
    How will they define the boundaries of an area.
    What happens if there is no majority vote, who or how will the casting vote be decided.
    What happens if say a development agreed to is in direct contravention to another decision to let's say a preservation or conservation decision....which one will get the casting vote.
    How will it work whereby a decision is taken in one area but has a knock on affect elsewhere...and who will be the arbitor in these cases.
    How will they allow for objections and legal challenges?

    The list of potential issues and pitfalls are endless....if you thought things were slow and bureacratic before then I suspect this will make it even worse.

    If I am wrong, which I doubt, then I'll eat my proverbial hat.

  • Comment number 85.

    How should local planning decisions be made? By the local people.

  • Comment number 86.

    This is a bad idea. The current system where planning decisions are made by an independent body that considers objections/veiws from the local residents, is perfectly reasonable, It stops planning being refused because of wrong motives. I would not like my neighbours having cart blanch control over my financial future.
    What needs to be in place is clear guidelines about how to object to a planning decision, how to be more involved in the process, Ie if you dont like a design/location of a building, how do you say so? There needs to be education on how to put your veiws to a planning commitee, either in writing or in person. Half the decisions that go through no one knows when the hearings are.

  • Comment number 87.

    Not really - I live in Scotland...

  • Comment number 88.

    Great news, democracy at work, no more Mayoral Visions thrust upon us without consultation destroying our heritage and wasting our tax.
    Thank you Mr Pickles, you may have saved Torquay!

  • Comment number 89.

    stopthespin wrote:
    Call me an old fashioned cynic...but this will be another can of worms...unworkable...that will slowly fade away, an expensive white elephant.


    One would hope so, but unfortunately, like a lot of this government policies, Chaos will occur before natural law resumes. These regulations are in place for a reason, then we get slap faced new boys in that change for the sake of, who can forsee the chaos, but wont back down. A gentleman usually listens can admit when he is wrong, say that he is, look at the issue again, but not this one, This one is bad because when it all goes pete tong he will still defend his sorry face to the GP.


  • Comment number 90.

    Let the local people decide, not the backhanders given to the planning department....

  • Comment number 91.

    If this is really about democracy and the way to go, how about introducing referendums for national issues too.

    Let's compile a list to send to Eric, Dave, Nick et al.

    I'll start it

    EU Membership

    Somehow..I think we'll find the Westminster boys, don't actually believe this political gimic is anything other than that, a distraction like the Royal Wedding or Olympics to bury everything else of real importance.

  • Comment number 92.

    Something has to be done. A plan to convert some 'waste' land into allotments, including a security fence began in March this year. At the time of writing, we are still waiting for the planning decision. The land was half land belonging to a church but not used, the other half was council land which had not been touched for 30 years and was completely overgrown. It was not visible from outside the area due to a high fence one side and trees and shrubs the other.

    The council has a policy of encouraging allotment provision. We hope that we may get the decision next week.

    Planning must be taken out of the hands of councils and committees set up of local experts who can work with the local councilors to arrive at a decision.

  • Comment number 93.

    Something needs to be done.

    Developers already have the opportunity to bribe planning authorities quite legally with what are called s.106 contributions.

    This, in combination with remotely based, incompetent planning officials and councillors, does not make for quality development.

    It is one thing to look for speedy development in an industrial zone, where domestic quality of life is unaffected, and the life of the business is limited. The need is entirely different in mixed or wholly residential areas. Quality of life can be blighted for a lifetime by inappropriate development. Conditions meant to alleviate problems are rarely enforced.

    Development affecting quality of life should be considered with much greater care. If it takes longer, so be it.

    I nevertheless suspect that the effect of localising decision making will put into sharp focus the weakness of local democracy when faced with rich developers and other vested interests.

    Compulsory training for councillors is long overdue, as is audit of how council business is conducted.

  • Comment number 94.

    This sounds very sensible but of course when a local referendum doesn't agree with government (State, National or Local)the exceptions will click in and unlike the French we'll do as we're damn well told.

  • Comment number 95.

    Planning approval should be given only after full consultation with htose affected giving them reasonable grounds to object. Peoposals only affecting a village should be agreed by theparish council, those with wider affect by the district council. For nationally critical projects the county council should approve. There will be NIMBYism it is called democracy.

  • Comment number 96.

    Its a good thing if it can be implemented, be trustworthy and transparent.

    The question is how will individuals within local communities be able to vote for or against a particular planning application. Will it be a website vote, a postal vote, local press advert and shout if you disagree, a weekly trip down to the planning offices, localised weekly commitee meetings, armed guards at the end of the driveway ???

  • Comment number 97.

    95. At 4:54pm on 18 Nov 2010, yorky68 wrote:



    I agree with 95's post. For everyone who is complaining about NIMBYism, I'm sure you also complain when your interests are completely ignored, having not even been taken into account?

  • Comment number 98.

    93. At 4:43pm on 18 Nov 2010, myneerkop wrote:
    Something needs to be done.

    Developers already have the opportunity to bribe planning authorities quite legally with what are called s.106 contributions.


    ========================================================

    Couldnt agree more Sec106 is a disgrace to our Society. They talk about corruption in third world !! Why should a developer or anyone have to pay a substantial sum "to the education development fund". Each property built then has to defray the additional "tax" demanded for approval by these S.106 contibutions. The buyers end up paying hundreds more never aware they just paid another tax. Tescos near us paid for sports fields and god knows what else as well as a whole new junction, traffic lights etc. No wonder big business can just do as it pleases. The things you need approval for (officially) are legion and probably not widely known. We had a new gas boiler, do you know you need building regulation approval or something from the council? £160 it cost and they did absolutely nothing never even had a letter. Apparently most folk just ignore it. Planning application fees are massive and vitually finance a whole beuracray and the jobs thar go with it, so its not going to change.

  • Comment number 99.

    Myerneekop wrote
    Compulsory training for councillors is long overdue, as is audit of how council business is conducted.

    I agree
    unfortunately The Audit commission the independent audit body for public services is to be scrapped.

    LITTLETENTER AND STOPTHESPINs
    comments if they are true are shocking, its practice like this that needs looking at, The general public should get a fair hearing then a decision taking into account those veiws should be taken. 2 hours to discuss christmas parties, I can well believe this, having been on some committees myself although never at council level.

  • Comment number 100.

    I always thought planning was something done by professionals. That was until I heard how deals were done in shady places for mega-whatevers to be built in so-and-so place on receipt of something in kind....

    Is that really going to be eliminated by a Tory? No.

 

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