Anyway she reckons it will be a lot more than just planning that will be deregulated and we'll get to know more at the next meeting. This got me pondering the whole role of Government again the one where the idea is that we hire the state to do the things we can't do ourselves. So lets just say they devolve planning power to PCs, apart from being a NIMBYs charter what would it mean?
Well we wouldn't need a planning officer full time but we would need access to one to ensure that any submitted plans do follow basic planning laws, I presume we won't get carte blanche, so how could we organise that? Well we could get together with a few other Parish Councils and hire one or two. We could even delegate this task to a central body that coordinated a few other tasks, say bin collection, libraries and other services we want to pay for. That would make sense as we could get economies of scale.
So how would that be different to now, you may ask? Well the money would be flowing up through the system and we would be paying for the service by writing cheques and if that service wasn't good enough we could withhold payment until it is and ff we don't like it we could buy from somewhere else, maybe a private company and inject some healthy competition in to the market.
Now there's a good reason I use this as an example. About 3 months ago plans were received for some work on a house in the middle of a road triabgle. Its a really wierd situation but somebody chooses to live there. They wanted to remove a fence and build a wall amongst other seemingly cosmetic changes. The plans had come from the planning officer with no objections so we have to assume that the plans met building and all other statutory regulations, don't we? Anyway, these were passed and the work began a couple of weeks ago.
What nobody had spotted until we all realised that the junction had become seriously dangerous was that the new wall was a meter outside the old fence and now completely obscured the view to the left unless you got the front of your vehicle in to the middle of the road. However, the view is fairly blind to the right as well as it is up a short hill and when getting out of the junction you need to be a bit sharpish.
The PC is going to take this up with the highways department and see what can be done. My view, and bearing in mind I am not a Parish Councillor, is that a very stiff letter should be sent to the planning office asking them what the bloody hell they think they were playing at? They are the professionals and should be picking up this sort of thing and advising the PC of the likely impact or at least referring to the highways department at let them decide.
Under the new localism bill I would certainly be withholding payment for that piece of work.