Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Planning is boring

My previous post may have given the impression that there's little point in getting involved in consultations and planning. Despite my cynicism, I think they are an important way to try and influence development.

The Gypsies' Green campaigners would be in with a better chance if they had responded en masse to the South Shields and Town Centre Action Plan, outlining their preferences for the type of development on both the Gypsies' Green site. As it was, the action plan respondents were close to 50-50 between a hotel or recreational facilities for the site. A concerted campaign during that consultation could have clearly earmarked the Gypsies' Green site for public recreational facilities. The site is now designated as 'mixed use'.

Since the consultation fed into the Core Strategy, which forms the backbone of local planning guidance, you've got to find a pretty good reason, and strictly in planning terms, to stop a project which fits the criteria laid down in the Core Strategy.

Unless the Gypsies' Green campaigners can find a killer planning objection, coherently challenge the economic benefit claims or gain an unassailable level of public support that worries councillors, the development is likely to go ahead. However, Northumbrian Water's concerns about handling the additional sewerage requirements for all the new developments planned in the Action Plan may provide some faint possibilities.

Realistically though, planning is stuffy, boring and filled with terminology seemingly designed to put off the average citizen. Even councillors are put off - few councillors (sitting or prospective) have written responses to any of the Local Development Framework consultations.

It looks like the planning laws are going to be weakened by an increasingly neo-liberal government - taking power away from local people to put in the hands of the developers - so it's more important than ever to watch what's happening in planning terms and shout out if you don't like what you see.

1 comment:

Curly said...

Top post Rossi lad, the opportunity was there but not many saw it!

(I'm a bit worried by the government's plans to turn over more than a few hectares of green open spaces to developers.)