Layla Moran MP- Go Lib Dem Nimbys Go

Independent on Chesham and Amersham byelection

Defections of traditional Tories are believed to have been motivated by the damage done by Brexit to small businesses and distaste for the Johnson administration’s “culture war” messaging as well as by proposed planning reforms which critics warn will put the green belt at risk from development and which have raised concern from organisations like the National Trust and Council for Protection of Rural England.

In a letter to Tory by-election candidate Peter Fleet, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran urged him to condemn the government’s approach, writing: “Over the last two years the Conservative Party has received over £11m in donations from property developers.

“Local people are right to be angry at a Conservative Party that chooses to champion those who seek to build on the green belt rather than the views of local people in Chesham and Amersham.”

I should stress there are currently no local plan proposals for Green Belt loss in the area, this is about whipping up a generalized fear, like UKIP used to do targeting seats with virtually no immigration, as if there was any threat to the Chilterns AONB. This is short termist strategy at its worst, entirely evidence free and removed from the realities of government and the need for progressive politics to meet needs. The lib dem have become the dumb anti-development party.

Its not Just about Putting Local Plans online, but About Making Online Local Planning Data Machine Readable

Almost all local plans now are online in some form. Many are compelling visually, such as those using Esri’s ‘story books’ feature.

But 99% of them are useless for the public, researchers or the private sector as the data is not readable.

Lets say you wanted to do a search of all sites within 30km of Swindon allocated for employment use and with planning consent and over 5Ha. The only way you could do it now is to buy services from companies that, incredibly, hand digitize everything including manually from planning registers in council receptions on laptops.

The problem is that planning data does not follow standard data formats that are machine readible. If there is a standard open source and spatially enabled format this is not a problem. The problem with the MCHLG is that it does not seem to understand open source and its transparent methods for solving problems. You will not find any website or proposal for solving the problem. Instead you have a ‘clientist’ approach like you now have in neighbourhood planning, a problem is perceived, a funding stream is set up, learning is restricted to successful bidders, little is learned apart from at the Ministry about how it did not understand the problem in the first place.