Boles Talks Complete and Utter Bollocks on Monster Extensions

Nick Boles at the DCLG Select.

I really cant remember such disingenuous bollocks as what he is saying.

-Rights to Light applies – No only applies to a tiny number of historic windows registered as ‘antient lights’ – irrelevent in 99.9% of cases

-90% of cases approved evidence of need for change.  No it is not.  People who know they wont get 6m apply for 3m, also knowing that reasonable inspector wont allow 6m.  Not evidence at all.

-Councils can use A4ds, they wont encourage.  No they can’t compensation, As his SoS has pointed out.

-Should embrace.  As opposed to embrace and extend.

-Will save money on design advice and consultants.  Design doesn’t matter then?  The only people who hire consultants for domestic extensions are richer people proposing monster extensions – as us planning consultants well know.

Bole’s Disavowal of Policy Exchange Proposals to Abolish the Green Belt Won’t Wash

‘Junior’ as we shall call him. that is junior minister for planning nick Boles today at the DCLG Select Committee disavowed any involvement with the Policy Exchange report calling for the abolition of the Green Belt.  He stated that he wasnt a ‘intellectual dictator’.

This wont wash for one tint moment.  Boles was the founder of the thunk tank with Micheal Gove and Archie Norman and was its founding director.  He left in Februaray 2007  – to run for Mayor of London. however the rep[ort calling for the abolition of the Green Belt, the Best Laid Plans, was published on the 24th Jan 2007, by the economics director appointed by Bowles with George Osborne, invited by Boles, the speaker at the lauch party.

The anti-planning and anti-Green Belt stance of the Policy Exchange was set out from its outset as a policy by the policy exchange. It is not a university department, it seeks to influence policy, and hence directors of thinks tanks are dictators when it comes to allowed thoughts, otherwise their funders would not fund them, and Lord Wolfson and Archie Norman were and are desperate to relax controls on out of town shopping.

No-one will believe Boles for a moment.

What is more telling however is that how association with Policy exchange ideas has become politically toxic, like wearing a hang Mandela Federation of Conservative Students Badge, an example of silly half baked political juvinellia.

A Memo from Owen Patterson to His Civil Servants

Sirs

I was speaking last week to my two ex wives Norman Tebbit and William Hague.

We were all agreed how annoying the Oxford comma is.  That is a comma used immediately before a coordinating conjunction.

Amongst those wrong on this issue are ignorant grammarians Oxford University Press and Fowlers Modern English Usage.

Indeed I entirely owe my grammatical superiority to my parents Eric Pickles and Mary Whitehouse.

My Permanent Secretary has suggested this memo could have been made rather less ambiguous with the use of the Oxford Comma.  Pah!

When Sub-Regional Planning Alone is Not Enough – The Worcester Case #NPPF

Labour is currently thinking about what form strategic planning should take after the next election.

Understandably they are reluctant to reinstitute Regional Strategies (the former RSS) believing sub-regional strategies are the way to go.

Certainly sub-regional Strategies are the primary building blocks of regional planning.  They had become increasingly important under RSS and with the Duty to Cooperate they should be just as important now, though the reality of this is taking a long time to sink in.  Just as before many cllrs politically felt unable to build on greenfield unless they were told to they are unable now to consider taking more than entirely local need unless an inspector tells them. So instead of eing frontloaded the system has become endloaded again introducing, disastrously, new forms of delay.

The focus on sub-regional planning is sensible.  Some areas will only need this tier of strategic planning.  Where LPAs cover whole housing market areas (such as Cornwall) perhaps this will be all that is needed.

But there are many case studies that show that even where there is effective larger than local planning at a sub-regional scale this will not be enough.

Perhaps the classic case is Greater Worcester – subject to a joint planning scheme and committee covering the City, Wyachavon and Malvern Districts.

Here the (sacked as Minister) local mp Peter Luff has been increasingly vocal, even going so far as to say that the NPPF will cost a seat at the next election.  The beef is that they are still dealing with West Mids Regional Strategy targets, whilst the NPPF saying they haven’t got a 5 year supply (they have its just that local builders wont build it, indeed they would be stupid too when they could simply sit on sites and get more and more permissions to puff up their balance sheets).

As ever be careful what you wish for.   The RSS was based on old household projections, the revised RSS based on more up to date projections never went through.  Although the joint committee now want to produce their own ‘locally derived’  figure this of course would omit the regional roll that Worcester, together with a range of other larger commuter towns such as Redditch, played in the regional strategy of taking a larger share of growth so that green belt districts and remoter districts with less services and jobs could take less.  What Greater Worcester is saying, in effect, in build more on Green Belt districts like Stratford-on-Avon and Shropshire please, we dont want to play a strategic role at all.  Given the requirement of the NPPF to consider the role on area can play in meeting unmet needs elsewhere it is difficult to see them getting away with it.  They will soon be wishing for RSS back.

Labour, and indeed any future planning minister, should therefore take a lesson from Worcester, if you accept that concentrating development at the best accessible locations is a good thing (Smart Growth) you need a mechanism to produce this when the districts in question are not being very smart.