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Saturday 8 August 2020

Tory Planning Shakeup - Cui Bono?

Before last December’s General Election, the Sun was voicing its approval of the latest wheeze from alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his pals. “CABINET ministers will unveil a revolution in planning rules next week to turbo-charge house building in Britain. The red tape will be relaxed so homes can be made bigger and new ones can be built on existing commercial sites without planning permission”.

Robert Jenrick

There was more. “House building on green belts will also be allowed where there is already some development - such as a train station. The jumbo package has been drawn up by Chancellor Sajid Javid and Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. They will begin to unveil it at the Tories’ annual conference in Manchester, which starts tomorrow”. Love the idea of a wayside railway station being classed as “development”.

Now, the Saj has departed the cabinet, thanks to the machinations of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, but Jenrick is still there, showing us just what the new planning landscape looked like when he just happened to find himself sitting next to Richard “Dirty” Desmond at a fundraiser, just happened to let Des show him a video of the proposed Westferry Printworks redevelopment, and later just happened to approve it.

And now the alarm bells are being sounded as those with some knowledge of the planning process figure out what Bob and Bozo are up to, with Caroline Lucas penning an op-ed for free sheet Metro earlier this week where she told readers “When Housing Minister Robert Jenrick wrote in the Sunday Telegraph about his intent to transform planning laws, he evoked cities and districts like Bath, Belgravia and Bournville in his vision for the future”.

The nuances of Tory planning law are explained

However, “what he is proposing is a bonfire of planning laws, which will offer a free-for-all for the Tory Party’s chums in the property industry to build where and what they want, with local communities powerless to stop them. Under the Tories’ reforms, land will be designated under three categories: for growth, protection, or renewal. New homes will be given automatic approval on land designated for the latter”. No questions asked.

To show that Ms Lucas is not alone in her concerns, Laurie Macfarlane, of Open Democracy and UCL, notes thatUnder the current system there are two opportunities for democratic participation in the planning system: first, at the formation of a local plan which sets out the strategic priorities for development in an area; and then at the planning application stage of individual developments”. But one of these is about to go.

Under the proposed reforms, the second stage of consultation will be scrapped. As a result, only those with psychic powers to foresee future developments will be able to object to them at the initial plan-making stage. Democratic oversight of individual developments will soon be a thing of the past … This is, of course, intentional”. And the result?

The reforms serve to transfer power away from local elected representatives and towards private developers, who will be able to build whatever they like, unopposed. The significance of this should not be underestimated. From now on, our built environment will be shaped around the interests of shareholder value, unchecked by democratic accountability”. That’s who benefits. The Tories’ pals. Like Dirty Des.

More unchecked building. And more unchecked corruption. No change there, then.

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anon said...

So when you ask, where is that nice Fire safety officer who used to give us the lectures on fire safety, you know the answer.

Martin Read said...

Those who recognise this for the grab that it is will have to respond quickly, in order to avoid wholesale destruction of what precious little is left of the UK's wildernesses and environmental integrity. But this will also require the support of media in order to highlight what is happening, along with early examples of how this will cause damage!

There we have it though, the media, where it is most widely accessed, has already fallen into disingenuous hands. Really, if we could but step back and see the wider picture, this is not unlike some sort of wide ranging coup! And the turkeys really are now routinely voting for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see the results of this corrupt profiteering - look no further than Manchester and a dystopia of high rise future slums staring at each other through a cloud of carbon monoxide. By a strange coincidence to be promoted in a BBC propaganda piece this week.

You will see the future and it doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Manchester? Take a train from Waterloo to Clapham junction, no one appears to live in these high rise "villages" and they are all sold before they're built.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what all the fuss is about? This country has the government it deserves!

Change will only come after an implosion of england's economy & infrastructure. So the destruction of the foundations of english society by the tories & their cretinous voters can only be a positive.