Thursday, 26 September 2013

So much for democracy - National Housing Federation wants councillors removed from planning decisions


I'm not a fan of David Orr, boss of the National Housing Federation. Not only is this old Labour hack wedding to the old model where government hands over cash to his members to subsidise house-building but he says stupid things like this:

‘My proposition is that we should enhance the local authority councillor’s role in thinking strategically about place-shaping and plan-making, but remove them completely from the day-to-day operational delivery of those plans – then leave it to officers to be accountable to the councillors'

The problem is that the business applauds this example of allowing professionals to push aside the population. It also illustrates that developers - and their lackeys - do not want to talk to communities about their concerns, their worries and their needs. Instead they want to ram their preferred solution down the throats of those communities.

People elect councillors precisely so they can make decisions - the choices - about things like housing. And maybe this means that sometimes those councillors make decisions the 'professionals' don't like. Decisions like this one:

More than 250 campaigners, many waving placards, attended the Shipley Planning Panel meeting at Bingley Arts Centre yesterday.

The audience cheered and stamped their feet as councillors voted six to one against proposals by developers Redrow and Bellway to build on the site at Sty Lane, Micklethwaite.

This was a decision - recommended by those professionals - that was upheld at appeal, confirmed by the secretary of state and upheld again in the high court. With David Orr's scheme it wouldn't have been made.


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