Sunday Times – ‘Wimpey Director Wrote New Planning Law’ #NPPF

Oh dear they’ve finally discovered that narrow cabel the practitioners advisory group, only six months late to make the front page! Perhaps next Sunday they will discover the ‘greenwash’ story about the group and then….

Cynical as I am about the legacy media clearly most papers now have assigned teams on it sniffing a big political story and trying to beat others to a scoop. Clearly the journalists are on a learning curve about the issues.

Eventually they will get to the really juicy stuff readers here have known about for months – then it will get interesting.

More on the #NPPF ‘Cash for Access’ row in the Telegraph

Heidi Blake

The Property Forum, a Tory donors’ club, is charging “key players” within the industry £2,500 a year for breakfast meetings to “discuss current topics” with top-ranking Conservatives.

The disclosure, which is likely to cause a new “cash for access” row, comes after the Government was accused of granting developers “a state licence to print money” by overhauling planning laws to make it easier to build on greenfield sites.

It will lead to concerns that key Conservative policies could have been influenced by major players within the property industry who paid for access to senior politicians.

The forum raises around £150,000 a year for the Conservatives and is advertised prominently on the party’s website.

Its entry on the donor’s page says the forum is “for key players within the property industry to meet senior Members of Parliament over breakfast, discuss current topics and learn about related issues”.

Grant Shapps, the housing minister, met members three months before the general election to explain the Conservatives’ Green Paper on planning ahead of its publication.

Michael Slade, the forum’s chairman and chief executive of the property developer Helical Bar, was highly critical of the party’s planning policies in opposition.

Writing in the Property Week trade magazine last February, he warned that empowering councils to make planning decisions locally could “paralyse” house-building. But critics of the new policy have warned that the reforms, which include a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, would effectively sideline councils and amount to a “developers’ charter”.

Mr Slade, who has donated more than £300,000 to the Conservatives individually and through Helical Bar, has claimed that the club plays a key role in shaping the party’s planning policy.

He said in an interview in 2008: “One issue is the Tories seem to be strangely seen as ‘nimby’, and we are looking at how we get over this.

“We are talking about how strategic developments and infrastructure can encourage local boroughs to see the benefits of development.” Mr Slade also claimed to have been in close contact with Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, as he formulated his policy to build 50,000 affordable homes in the capital.

The Conservatives were mired in a “cash for access” row in August last year, three months after coming to power, after it emerged that David Cameron was raising money for his party by offering to attend dinners with businessmen who donate £50,000 a year.

Despite the controversy, The Leader’s Group is still offering its members the chance to “join David Cameron and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-PMQ lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches”. Members of Team 2000, another donors’ club, are given the chance to hear about the party’s policies in government “first-hand” from Mr Cameron and senior MPs at “a lively programme of drinks receptions, dinner and discussion groups”.

The Conservatives last night denied that members of the Property Forum had a hand in shaping government policy.

A spokesman said: “The Conservative Property Forum is a discussion forum for people with an interest in property.

“It in no way influences policy. Any relevant donations made by members of this forum are publicly declared to the Electoral Commission just like all other relevant donations.”

Mr Slade was unavailable for comment last night.

 

Sunday Telegraph discovers Examinations in Public & the CALA II Case! Red Herring in #NPPF debate

Inspectors reports have been a key and successful component of the development plans system for many years, and since 2004 they have been binding. The NPPF doesnt change that. The localism bill contains minor tinkering but that part of the system was unchanged.

A key matter that was examined was whether enough houses were planned. Since 2004 plans have had to provide enough housing to meet targets in regional plans. Regional Targets have existed since the early 1980s. The present government rather foolishly vowed to abolish these whilst in opposition – they tried in government – which was overturned in the courts (the Cala II case you can read about on here). Housebuilding targets fell by an average of 20.6% per authority according to research by BNP. The government panicked at the prospect of reduced housebuilding, as increased housebuilding was an election pledge. So in the NPPF it sought to make appeals on housing easier and to force local planning authorities to either meet all housing need locally or agree with other to take the overspill. The sunday Times lists a number of cases below, most of which we have covered over many months on this blog. In all cases the not buildings as much as regional plans require is the key issue, though if regional plans were revoked tomorrow they would likely as not have to build more housing than under regional plans as there would be no mechanism to redistribute growth away from Green Belts and towards growth areas (the like of Milton Keynes)

Here is the Telegraph Story. It does illustrate the irreconcilable conflict between localism and meeting housing need. The role of the NPPF in this is that it simply bodges matters creating uncertainty that is bogging down the examination of many plans. If these are held up we have planning by appeal on bad sites. If all decisions are left to localism we have a national crisis in terms of a housing shortage as housebuilding levels would collapse. The government is between a rock and a hard place. The key criticism is not that the NPPF is forcing these inspectors decisions, being made in most cases on the weight of matters under current regional plans and national policy, but that it doesn’t clean up the mess made by the abolition, without considered replacement, of strategic planning structures which resolve conflicts over where large amnounts of housing go. Instead under the NPPF local authorities, like rats in a sack, are supposed to fight it out amongst themselves.

Te one case in the article which was directly affected by the NPPF – indirectly – was Rochford. The localism bill introduces a ‘duty to cooperate’. Rochford wanted to reduce its housing levels saying more would be build in Basildon! Basildon objected and the inspector agreed -see here

The poor report also fails to point out that even after Royal Assent the government will not be able to revoke regional strategies because of non-compliance with a requirement for strategic environmental assessment of the impact of revocation – an issue the government has accepted and made no attempt since April to resolve.

The Coalition’s pledge to give local communities more control over development in their area is being undermined by Government inspectors who are telling councils to allow more house building.
Local authorities have been asked by the government’s Planning Inspectorate in recent months to amend their local plans so that they provide more land for homes, allocate more rural land for development and even give up Green Belt for construction projects.
Cases include South Oxfordshire, which was told to allocate an extra 255 homes to greenfield land, and Harborough, in Leicestershire, which had to increase its target for rural house building by more than 2,000.
The revelation, in council documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph, has alarmed countryside campaigners who are fighting against the Coalition’s proposed planning reforms, which will introduce a “presumption in favour of development”.
Critics including the National Trust and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England fear the reforms will lead to swathes of the countryside being developed for economic gain.
The latest organisation to add its voice to dissent over the government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework is the Countryside Restoration Trust, a farming and wildlife charity which has Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP, as a Trustee.
The National Trust last night warned that the interference by government planning inspectors in local plans sent out a clear message that was at odds with ministers’ rhetoric about handing more control to local authorities.
Ben Cowell, director of external affairs at the National Trust, said: “These findings demonstrate precisely why it is right to be concerned.
“Even in the midst of a public consultation on planning, and before people have had a chance to say what they think, the Government’s proposed reforms are sending out a clear message to local plan makers and decision takers that they aren’t really in the driving seat after all, and that the planning system should be used as a tool to ‘proactively drive’ development and promote short-term economic gain above all else.”
Ministers insist that under their draft National Planning Policy Framework, councils, and so the local communities they represent, will have more power to determine what is built where by drawing up detailed local development strategies.
The Draft National Planning Policy Framework requires all councils to create up-to-date local development strategies after Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, announced he was scrapping Regional Strategies and the housing targets drawn up under Labour.
Currently only half of the local authorities in England have published a core strategy and fewer than a third have adopted one.
Each strategy must set the minimum number of homes that the authority will allow to be built in its area by 2028, while also identifying land that can be allocated for these properties.
Each strategy must be examined and approved by a planning inspector before it can come into force.
Such is the weight being given to the reforms that the Planning Inspectorate – which is overseen by Mr Pickles – has told its inspectors to give the draft framework “material consideration” in their judgements, even though it is not yet law.
Many councils have started producing local plans in anticipation of the planning reforms coming into force, with some attempting to reduce the minimum number of homes they had been committed to build under the previous Labour administration’s national targets.
This newspaper has, however, has identified a number of rural councils which have been instructed to make changes to their core strategies by planning inspectors that will see them giving up countryside for development.
The rulings have created deep tensions at some key Tory run councils with many councillors feeling frustrated at the centralised interference.
South Oxfordshire district council said it was pressured by inspectors into changing their Core Strategy and as a result have had to increase the number of homes allocated to greenfield land from 900 dwellings to 1,155.
It was also told it needed to allocate more land in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which should be protected from development, for an additional 400 homes.
It will be doubly embarrassing for the Coalition as the council is in the constituency of Conservative MP John Howell, parliamentary private secretary to the Minister for Decentralisation and Localism, who claims to have been credited as “the source of inspiration for many of the policies in the Localism Bill” that the Government says will hand more power back to local authorities.
Mike Dyer, a Tory town councillor in Thame, South Oxfordshire, attacked the “top down” plans forced on his community.
He said: “We recognise that some growth is inevitable but it should be related to need and planning should work from the ground up, not imposed from the top down.”
Rochford district council, at the mouth of the River Thames in Essex, was told on 11 August that an inspector examining its draft plan had “significant concerns” about a decision to reduce the number of new homes to 190 per year, from a previous commitment of 250.
Keith Hudson, Conservative portfolio holder for planning and transportation at Rochford Council, said: “For us to build the number of homes we are expected to build we will have to encroach on our Green Belt.
The 250 is a minimum and that worries me, because where does the steamroller stop rolling?”
Harborough district council was given instructions on 2 August to increase the number of homes to be built around Market Harborough by 1,100 and around Lutterworth by 200. It was also told to increase the number of homes in rural locations by more than 2,000.
Castle Point borough council, in Essex, was told it needed to free up large areas of Green Belt land and the inspector even said he had been provided with submissions from housing developers on potential sties that should be considered. Councillors there are due to meet next week to discuss making the changes.
Bill Dick, Conservative chairman of the development committee at Castle Point, said: “The inspector has sent us back to look at slices of land that developers will be interested in rather than pieces that allow one, two or three houses to be built.”
North Somerset district council was rebuked for decreasing its target number of homes from 15,000 to 13,000 while Bath and North East Somerset council was asked why its housing requirement fell 4,000 short of what was expected.
Paul Miner, senior planning officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “What these inspectors are doing doesn’t seem to be reflecting the Government’s localism plans at all and it seems to be the same centralising approach.
“Either the Government isn’t in control or one hand of government doesn’t know what the other is doing.”
Robin Page, chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust, added: “Unless sanity is restored then I fear for the countryside, its wildlife and the people who live and work in it.
“If current planning trends continue and those who rule us continue to ignore reality, then Britain could be a very unpleasant place in which to live in thirty or forty years time – or even sooner.”
The Department of Communities and Local Government said that planning inspectors were making their decisions based on rules that had been implemented by the previous Labour administration despite the announcement by Mr Pickles that these were being scrapped.
A court ruling last year in a case brought by housing developer Cala Homes, who appealed against Mr Pickles’ attempts to scrap Regional Spatial Strategies, saw the High Court rule the scrapping had been “unlawful”.
Another court hearing earlier this year, however, ruled that the Government’s intention to scrap the regional strategies should be taken as a “material consideration” and so could influence local plans.
A DCLG spokesman said: “The last Government embedded Regional Spatial Strategies into primary legislation and it takes an Act of Parliament to scrap them.
“The Localism Bill currently before Parliament proposes to abolish regional strategies and top-down housing targets, meaning Inspectors will no longer be required to ensure legal conformity with regional plans including reviewing the likely extent of Green Belt in more than thirty areas across England.
“In future new neighbourhood planning powers will give real control to local people and it will be up to the local authority to decide how best to take account of the Inspector’s findings, and move forward with their plans.”

73% of the population say they have heard “not very much” or “nothing at all” about the #NPPF poll for NT

Observer

Fears that the coalition’s relaxation of the planning system will result in urban sprawl have been reignited after it emerged that the vast majority of people are unlikely to participate in the government’s newly created local forums that allow communities to block housing developments.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by the National Trust, found that few people were aware of the government’s proposals to alter the planning laws dramatically, and even fewer had the inclination to address planning issues in their local area. The findings, based on interviews with 2,319 adults living in England, are a blow to the government which has struggled to defend its controversial draft national planning policy framework in recent weeks.

The framework is seeking to slash what most agree are unwieldy planning laws. But ministers insist this will not result in a carte blanche for developers. Instead, they say communities will have the final decision under the government’s new neighbourhood plans, which allow local people to voice their opposition to new developments.

Planning minister Greg Clark pledged that the plans “will be a huge opportunity for communities to exercise genuine influence over what their home town should look like in the future”. But the poll found that 70% of people said they were “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to get involved in their neighbourhood plan. Only 4% said they were “very likely” to get involved.

The apathy appears subject to political variation. Lib Dem and Tory voters are slightly more likely to get involved (28% and 26%, respectively) than Labour voters (21%). The National Trust, which is strongly opposed to the plans, suggested the findings reinforced fears that the new laws would play into the hands of developers, who have the time and resources to participate in planning applications and want to develop on greenfield rather than more expensive brownfield sites.

“The government needs to do more to understand how to engage people in planning,” said Dame Fiona Reynolds, the director general of the National Trust. “Our fear is that if people don’t participate in the new system, then neighbourhood plans may simply become a charter for those best equipped or with vested interests to get the most, say, with local communities only getting involved once decisions have been made.”

Communities secretary Eric Pickles and the chancellor, George Osborne, have defended the proposals, saying they are good for the UK economy. “No one should underestimate our determination to win this battle,” they wrote in an article in the Financial Times last week. “We will fight for jobs, prosperity and the right protection for our countryside.”

But there has been criticism that the legislation is being rushed through with little consultation. Labour MPs have urged the government to extend the consultation period on the draft framework and hold a Commons debate and vote.

The National Trust poll suggests that concerns over the speed with which the government is moving on the issue may be justified. The survey revealed that 73% of the population say they have heard “not very much” or “nothing at all” about the proposals. Geographically, awareness is highest in the south east, outside London, with 25% saying they have heard a “fair amount” or a “great deal”, compared with 17% in the north.

“This low level of awareness is very concerning, especially given the government’s timetable for consultation on the proposed changes to the planning system,” Reynolds said. “We think the government should make sure people across the length and breadth of England have heard more about the proposals before a major decision like this, which will affect our landscape for ever, is made.”

The survey also found that there appeared to be wariness of “big business” when it came to planning. Only 5% of those questioned said commercial property developers should have a significant say in planning decisions. And seven in 10 people said they believed that all new housing developments should be required to include space for people to grow food, such as allotments.

“People are clearly wary about big business having too big a role in planning in their local community,” Reynolds said. “Commercial developers and large businesses appear to be the stakeholders that the public feel should have the least say in deciding what gets built.”

Clark has insisted that the government has put in place “extensive consultation arrangements” and promised a parliamentary debate on the proposals. He told the Observer last month that building more housing was vital if younger generations were to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

There is speculation, however, that a group of backbench Tories, led by Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, may press the government to make changes.

Russians to Build New Congo City

Bloomberg

Renaissance Partners, the investment unit of Moscow-based Renaissance Group, plans to build a 6,400- acre city in the Democratic Republic of Congo as it seeks to benefit from Africa’s urbanization.
The Russian firm is working on a master plan for the new urban center after securing the land outside Lubumbashi, the country’s second-largest city, Arnold Meyer, Renaissance Partners’ managing director in charge of real estate in Africa, said in an interview in London. Renaissance is considering similar projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Rwanda, he said.
“The West has peaked in terms of economic growth and the new markets are in Africa,” Meyer, 39, said. “And the main drivers of this growth in Africa are going to be cities.”

Renaissance’s Lubumbashi project will be more than double the size of Tatu City, the $5 billion center that the Russian firm is building from scratch outside the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The Moscow firm, headed by Stephen Jennings, plans to take advantage of Africa’s economic growth and emergence of a growing urban middle class demanding better infrastructure.
In Nairobi, where the population has been increasing about 4 percent a year over the last decade, one in four residents lacks access to piped water and about 40 percent of people use open-pit toilets, according to Kenya’s statistics agency. Tatu City, a 2,500-acre site about nine miles north of the capital, will eventually have 62,000 residents and include a stadium, technology park, hospital, shops, office towers and playgrounds, the firm said in October, when it started the project. The Nairobi Stock Exchange is in talks with Renaissance about relocating there, Meyer said.
Tatu Construction Schedule
“We’ve had two meetings with the stock exchange, and we have another presentation in two weeks,” Meyer said. “We created a zone which would be ideal for them.”
Renaissance is now installing electricity and water lines in Tatu, which will function as an independent municipality, and expects the first buildings to be erected by the end of 2013, Meyer said. The firm will sign an agreement with Kenya’s government next week to include Tatu in the country’s Vision 2030 plan, designed to boost infrastructure.
Renaissance is in a legal dispute with a local partner over the ownership of coffee lands north of Tatu, some of which Meyer says could be used as an extension of the city. The dispute hasn’t affected the Tatu development itself, he said.
The firm is also working on the design of two projects of about 2,500 acres each outside Accra and Takoradi in Ghana, Meyer said. It is considering buying land near Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil harbor, as well as near Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, he said.
“In 1980, you had 400 million people on the continent,” Meyer said. “Last year they went through the 1 billion barrier. And in another 30 years, that doubles to 2 billion. Imagine the combined energy.”

FoE’s Craig Bennett #NPPF will ‘push bad developments, built in the wrong place..pump out more climate-changing pollution’

Who’d have thought planning could be so interesting?

A topic often associated with long, dull meetings in dusty town halls has suddenly become headline news. Now, barely a day seems to pass without a story on the coalition’s controversial proposals to shake up the planning system splattered across the front page of one newspaper or another.

And organisations representing millions of people across the country are up in arms to say ‘hands off our land!’ believing these proposals will establish a ‘builder’s charter’ that will spell disaster for communities and the environment.

Of course the government says their plans are eminently sensible and point to the presumption in favour of sustainable development their proposals contain. But what does this actually mean in practice? Astonishingly the government has failed to provide any sort of meaningful definition.

If councils aren’t given proper guidance about sustainable development how can they encourage the type of schemes that should be built – and refuse to allow those that shouldn’t?

This confusion shouldn’t be a major surprise. These planning changes are being driven by ministers who think the planning system is a major impediment to economic growth – and needs to be replaced with one that champions development. And this is what the proposals do.

Earlier this week I met planning minister Greg Clark, along with colleagues from the National Trust, RSPB, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Wildlife Trusts and other organisations.

We told him his plans were of major concern to people across England and that a planning system principally aimed at promoting economic growth was completely unacceptable. He heard our views – but whether he’ll change direction remains to be seen.

Friends of the Earth isn’t anti-development, or against economic growth. We urgently need to create a strong low-carbon UK economy to ensure we play our part in tackling climate change and to create new green jobs for the future. This means building the new infrastructure to deliver it.

For example, the UK has one of the richest green energy potentials in Europe – we need more wind turbines, solar installations and anaerobic digesters to provide clean and reliable sources of energy.

And we need to solve our housing problems too – and this means new affordable homes, built to high green standards.

Unfortunately, the coalition’s planning reforms won’t encourage these positive developments – they’ll push bad developments, built in the wrong place, which will pump out more climate-changing pollution.

Ironically, some of the most vehement opposition to government plans has come from the Conservative heartlands. People living in the leafy shires don’t want their green and pleasant land and quality of life trashed by unnecessary, low-quality development.

And there’s unlikely to be much support from the Tory coalition partners either. Traditionally the greenest of the three main parties, Lib Dem supporters must be aghast at their party’s association with a free-market planning system that could carve up the countryside.

The government must change tack. We need a planning system that delivers public benefit and social well-being and lays the foundations for a low-carbon prosperous future. We need a framework that encourages new green industries and infrastructure, affordable and decent homes where people need them and protection for Britain’s natural environment.

If ministers refuse to listen they may face a nasty shock at the ballot box.

The Toads Fight Back #NPPF

Cross Post from Campaign Against Sprawl

Hi im Nathan Natterjack

As you may know it has been reported that the National Planning Policy Framework is rather bad news for us Natterjacks, and a host of other species as well I might add.

Loss of habitat due to development is one of the reasons for my decline and all native sites in Kent had been wiped out last century. So I had to hope over from one of the reintroduced sites to see Greg Clark in Tonbridge Wells, he nearly trod on me! What consideration.

Anyway the Campaign against Sprawl has asked me to take a toads eye view of events so ill be writing a diary.

They arent yet selling cuddly Nathans in those famous shortbread and ginger snap lined gift shops to fund the campaign but you never know.
Here are some posters those tall folks have done for you

Here is a PDF nat_posters

How Scotland does Sustainability better than #NPPF

1) There is a Sustainability ‘Lock in’ in law

Check Section 3D of the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006

3D Sustainable development: exercise of functions by Scottish Ministers

1. This section applies to the Scottish Ministers in the exercise of their functions of preparing and revising the National Planning Framework

2. The Scottish Ministers must exercise those functions with the objective of contributing to sustainable development.

3. In construing the expression “sustainable development” for the purposes of this section, regard may be had to any guidance issued,

This is the right approach, locking sustainability in but having policy flexibility in its application

2) Having a real definition of sustainability

Check out this section of Scotland’s National Planning Policy

It uses the UK Sustainable Development Strategy which England is supposed to still follow but is not included as a basis for English planning policy!

3) It is Balanced Not Loaded

The fundamental principle of sustainable development is that it integrates economic, social and environmental objectives. The aim is to achieve the right development in the right place. The planning system should promote development that supports the move towards a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable society.

4) It recognises that Economic Growth has to be Sustainable Too

Check here

The planning system should proactively support development that will contribute to sustainable economic growth and to high quality sustainable places. Achieving sustainable economic growth requires a planning system that enables the development of growth enhancing activities across Scotland and protects and enhances the quality of the natural and built environment as an asset for that growth. Planning authorities should take a positive approach to development, recognising and responding to economic and financial conditions in considering proposals that could contribute to economic growth.

4) It follow through with the real actions needed to secure sustainability and does not try to pretend that actions reducing sustainability are sustainability

It pushes all the right buttons, Zero Waste objectives, protect and enhance the natural environment, including biodiversity and the landscape, promote regeneration and the re-use of previously developed land, support sustainable water resource management, consider the lifecycle of the development, 100s of other examples all lacking in the NPPF

The drafting of Scottish Planning Policy attracted relatively little controversy, despite being proactive in nature and short and succinct. It shows can you reform planning without applying a wrecking ball to the principles of sustainability. If Alex Almond and not Eric Pickles had driven the process we wouldn’t have had the treasury driven bodge and the revolt of the shires we have today. Alex Salmond must be having a chuckle.

Rush of applications to circumvent ‘plan-led’ planning #NPPF

A letter in the Telegraph repeats the problem told me by many many councils.

SIR – I am the Conservative leader of a district council that is inundated with large planning applications. We are in the middle of producing our local plan (so beloved by government commentators) which will allow us to determine where and how development will take place in our beautiful rural borough.
However, the statutory process is such that it will be next spring before the public examination of the plan can take place. We are just analysing responses to the required second public consultation.
If the majority of the existing substantial planning applications are approved in the next few months, it will drive a coach and horses through any plan reflecting local requirements and preferences.
From advice we have received, we are not allowed to delay or refuse applications on grounds of the imminence of our new local plan. Surely this cannot be right.
It is no surprise that developers want to get approvals before the plan is accepted, because otherwise they would be bound by the wishes of the local people.
I have raised this problem through our MP and with ministers directly, but with no positive response. I am and will continue to be a strong supporter of the Government, but in this case it has got it wrong, and it needs a rethink.
Michael Ranson
Leader, Ribble Valley Borough Council
Grindleton, Lancashire

In the appeal led #NPPF world you cannot pick and choose between sites. Indeed it is worse, like a quickdraw competition. Those developers that get their appeals in first are likely to fill up the 5 year supply – there is no rationality to this process at all it is enormously wasteful and prevents democratic choice over housing options.

George Osborne’s Sunday Night Viewing ‘Downton Abbey v Spooks’ #NPPF ‘battle’ talk is bad news for everyone

So George Osborne and Eric Pickles are determined to win the ‘battle’ over the NPPF, to be fair they weren’t the first to use such language, it was the CPRE, though at the time it was a rear guard action in the trenchs against the threat of being overwhelmed.

But battles can leave everyone worse off

Take our nations Sunday night viewing, we know Dave and George are great fans of both Downton Abbey and Spooks. From the 18th of Sept we will have to choose which one to watch first at 9pm. Even with +1s and players its a pain. A lot of people (not me I must add) like to tweet as they watch and even play drinking games whilst doing so. You also avoid the risk of a spoiler text from your mates.

Im sure if I started a blog campaigning against this cynical anti-viewer scheduling battle it would get a 100 times more hits that one on the #NPPF

So George the lesson is its often way more popular and sensible not to fight every battle and come to a reasonable compromise that benefits everybody.

#stopdowntonspooksclash