Sarkozy increases French Densities by 1/3rd – La Monde

La Monde

Sunday, Jan. 29, the President announced his intention to increase by 30% the rights to build on “all-terrain, any house, building ‘.” This will give a great job to all the building industry, he explained. Secondly, this will increase considerably the number of units, so it will put pressure on prices…

The bill excludes the device at all preserved areas as natural heritage, as did those recorded for historical heritage…. Benoist Found , Minister for Housing, “…we can not continue to consume agricultural space and we need to build more housing so be denser. “

Landscape architect Bertrand Folléa ‘ Developed 60 000 to 70 000 hectares annually, mostly farmland. This corresponds to a French department every seven to ten years. By comparison, Germany consumes 20 000 to 30 000 hectares. The French wanted the houses? were chosen to urban sprawl, forgetting that space was a nonrenewable resource. “…

And 30% dear to Sarkozy, in all this? A measure “electioneering,” “brutal,” “demagogic,” say in chorus all our stakeholders. “Maybe she could make sense in a package that would review the planning system, which would require the land on their actual value, which entrust permits to build communities of municipalities or towns rather than mayors, sighs economist Vincent Fox. But alone, it is absurd. “

London and the 0.01%

John Lanchester

It’s these two groups, non-doms and the internationally mobile, who mainly make up the London super-rich. They aren’t the 1%, or even the 0.1%, but the 0.01% – the few thousand richest people in the country. We go out of our way to entice them here: that’s what the non-dom rule is for. But there are almost no studies of their effect on the UK; of their impact on the debate about inequality and fairness; of their impact on the capital of having a group of people who simply don’t have to pay any attention to what things cost. One of the salient qualities of life in London, remarked on by long-term residents, by newcomers and by tourists, in short by everybody, is how expensive everything is. City pay is a big part of that, but the international super-rich contribute to it, too. The money they spend is obviously welcome, but it seems to me possible that it comes at too high a price to the rest of our polity. Inequality feeding down from the top of the income distribution is provably linked to a whole range of negative consequences for society, from higher rates of mental illness and incarceration and family breakdown to alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide. By choosing to have the tax system we have, we are choosing to make these problems worse; and we are concentrating the top of the inequality range in our capital city. The consequences of this need some real study. And yet it’s infinitely better to live in a country where people want to be, rather than a country that people want to flee – and these people’s presence here reflects that fact, too.

The Lib Dems Largest Donor – Ministry of Sound – and warnings over a Southwark Planning Application

According to the latest figures from the Electoral Commission their largest donor in Q4 is the Ministry of Sound –  £153,267 – it was also the venue for their Christmas party.

However the Southwalk Lib Dems had also received a £21,000 donation from the famous Elephant and Castle nightclub.

Last year Southwalk Cllrs rejected an application, following an expensive public relations battle,  from Oakmayne developments for a development next to the club which they claimed  would lead to noise complains and the clubs closure. Here is a report from BBC London.

Political donations to the Liberal Democrats from a nightclub chain totalling almost £80,000 went undeclared as its councillors discussed a tower block development opposed by the firm, BBC London has learned.

The Ministry of Sound, in Elephant and Castle, south London, was fighting to prevent developer Oakmayne building a residential tower block nearby. The club feared noise complaints from the completed tower block would eventually lead to its closure.

But none of the three Liberal Democrat politicians who rejected the application declared that the party locally had been in receipt of donations from the nightclub – £21,000 at local level and £57,300 at national level. Technically, planning councillors do not have to declare donations to their party – even though they would have to declare attending a party at the club – because councillors are deemed not to benefit personally.

In light of the BBC investigation, lawyers for Oakmayne are writing to Southwark Council asking for the decision-making process to be re-run. A further £1,000 was donated to Simon Hughes, the local Liberal Democrat MP. Mr Hughes has also publicly sided with the nightclub in the dispute, arguing that residential development in the area is inappropriate.

Here is the response of the local lib-dem leader

“We do declare who gives us money. But I agree, I was a bit concerned because they were big donations. I contacted the borough solicitor in advance of the meeting. He came to me with advice that we did not have to declare it. … It would certainly be helpful if the advice [from central government on declaring donations] was clearer. I’m in favour of anything that makes politics more transparent.”

But that wasnt the advice, it was for the cllrs to ask themselves

‘whether they can approach this with a completely open mind and judge it on its merits irrespective of consequences for their party’s funding… If they believe they can then they can legitimately take part in the committee. If they think this issue will impact on their decision, they should stand down.’

Which of course is standards officer-ese for declaring an interest and not taking part in the vote.

But conflicts may exist on both sides – the BBC again

It has said it is concerned that former Southwark Council employees advised Oakmayne’s bid. The club said these included the former leader of the council Jeremy Fraser and a former project manager for the Elephant and Castle area. One of the architects involved is chairman of the council’s design review panel, which examines potential developments in the borough. In an official complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, also obtained by BBC London, Ministry of Sound’s Lohan Presencer said: “This is not conducive to fair decision-making. An extremely close relationship exists between the council and developers, particularly Oakmayne.”

Now the Mayor of London has intervened and the decision will be made by him.

 Jonathan Bartley, Green Party candidate for Lambeth & Southwark in next year’s London Assembly elections, called for the decision-making process to be rerun and for Southwark Liberal Democrats to return the cash.

“The issue here is not whether Lib Dems acted within the rules or not, or even whether you agree with the planning decision that they made,” he said.

“It’s about residents in Southwark having confidence that their councillors are acting in their best interests, and deciding planning applications on their merits.

One comment on Lib-Dem voice states that the localism bill gives much greater scope to cllrs to make such decisions – nonsense this is nothing to do with predetermination but concerns perceptions of conflict of interest.  Lets hope that this fallacy is not more widely shared by cllrs.   Perhaps Andrew Stunnell should write to all standards officers to clarify the matter.