Tuesday, 15 November 2011

In which the National Trust does a triple somersault and flip over the shark...


Apparently the Eurozone crisis is nothing to do with bank regulation, excess borrowing, the collapse of lending or other monetary reasons. Oh no, it's becasue Italy, Spain and Greece don't have a 'strong planning system':

The director-general of the National Trust has hit out at the government's drive to lift planning restrictions by claiming that the economic plight of European nations such as Greece is linked to the fact that they have 'lax planning regimes'.

It's not enough that the National trust deliberately - and for reasons of self-interest - misrepresent the National Planning Policy Framework but now they want to present planning as the driver of growth.

Rather than seeing planning as part of the solution to our economic woes, ministers seem unable to view it as anything other than a problem.

Since planning is, ipso facto, a cost to the developer, it must therefore be a cost to the economy. A barrier to growth not its progenitor. Yet the National Trust are too wrapped up in their mission to interfere - so wrapped up that they present the ghastly green fascism of Freiburg as a fine example of the good that planning brings.

In Vauban, if Rieselfeld residents are to be believed, green living is compulsory. 'It jumps in your face a little,' Claudia Duppe warned me, 'and there is a lot of social control. If you walk into the quarter with an Aldi carrier bag, it's, "Sorry, I'm not talking to you; you shop at a discount supermarket and you don't buy organic." It feels claustrophobic, because everyone expects you to behave in the same way - and of course you are not allowed to have a car.'

So no Dame Fiona, you are wrong in your advocacy of planning as an economic driver, you are wrong to argue for any presumption against development, you are wrong to promote the totalitarian eco-city beloved of so-called environmentalists and urbanists.

And to blame the Eurozone crisis on a lack of planning is absolutely, monumentally, barkingly wrong.


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