Oh No are the Treasury Listening to the Policy Exchange’s #NPPF Plan B

Independent

With less than three weeks until the Budget, the Treasury is studying a blueprint from the think tank Policy Exchange, calling for thousands of homes to be built on brownfield and greenfield sites, unless half of local people object.

Neil O’Brien, Policy Exchange director, said: “If the UK wants to compete with the rising Asian economies, we need to draw our workforce to our towns and cities. That means providing affordable family homes that do not alienate the local community.

No indication if this is serious or just self promotion by the Policy Exchange.  Last year they published a report after close of the NPPF u-turning on man y of the ideas in the NPPF that they had promoted – for example calling the presumption in favour of development Stalinist –  and instead calling for the abolition of democratically determined local plans and democratic decisions on planning applications.  We then called their Cities for Growth report ‘Late, Irrelevent and Wrong’.

In this wacky example of Tea Party extremism – which of course NPPF Guru and former Downing Street Head of Policy James O’Shaunessy has returned to after proving so ineffective at number 10 – they called local plans ‘soviet style’ central planning &‘socialist’.  They proposed instead bribing of residents surrounding a development and then them voting on the scheme.  I kid you not – and the Treasury is taking this seriously!  rather the Treasury is not to be taken seriously for being associated with such crackpots.  There should be an annual award – The Hilton Prize for undeliverable blue sky barminess and the award goes to the Policy Exchange.

As we stated then:

The referendum model would be utterly impractical, how would issues such as transport impact and capacity of sewerage systems be considered, or the cumulative impacts of many such developments all coming forward at once?  What is to prevent a developer simply buying up a few dozen houses in a thinly populated area and creating their own rotten borough?

Lampard’s payment to planning vice chair shows why cllrs should be banned from acting as consultants or agents

The Sun on Sunday has a good old fashioned News of the World style exclusive over how Frank Lampard made a £ three million pounds profit for an additional house at his home in Esher after hiring the vice chair of Elmbridge Planning committee to ‘help in fill in the forms’.  The story does nopt state it but im 100% sure his plannin g consultant and architect know how to fill in tmhe forms on ONEAPP.

The England ace hired flash Tory David Archer — nicknamed Boycie because he looks like Del Boy’s wheeler-dealer pal in Only Fools and Horses.

Bentley-driving Boycie, 65, filled in forms and helped mastermind an application to build a new luxury home in the grounds of Lampard’s property in Esher, Surrey.

Well-heeled locals are furious. One said: “We know no law has been broken but what the hell is this councillor doing filling in forms for Lampard. There is astonishment this was allowed to happen.

Of course when it came to committee he declared an interest and left the room.  Which illustrates why elected officials, public servants and civil servants should be barred from acting in such a capacity.  Indeed many countries have generalised ant-corruption legislation preventing payment to lected official concerning any activity to which they or any other elected official has power over.  Since the introduction of the Bribery Act bit is only an offence to ‘to induce a person to perform improperly a relevant function or activity.’  or to make payments to a foreign official to obtain business or advantage in business’ and the official is neither permitted n…to be influenced in F’s capacity as a foreign public official by the offer, promise or gift.’  So it is illegal to make such payments to foreign officials, even as ‘consultants’ but not to domestic ones.  Indeed it is not even illeagal to undertake the all too common practice of planner or building reg offier making an application (under another person’s name) to the authority where they work.

Transparency International have been calling for such leggislation for years.

I presume Francis Maude would make the preposterous claim that prevention of corruption falls under the ‘one in one out’ rule and so would be ok if you scrapped Health and Safety legislation instead.