One of the things that new media such as Facebook and Twitter can do is remind you of something that was in the archives or you may have simply overlooked. I am therefore grateful for a friend’s “timeline” that reminded me of Will Self’s radio essay on The 1947 planning act. Sounds dry…but is far from it. Its a programme about a battle that should have been won by the 1947 act but is a running sore ever since. Its thoughtful.

This is worth a listen.
The architecture of this planning act is still there but its key element of sharing land values has been gutted.

Why do I raise this? Its not just some passing interest. This comes up time after time in planning; even today.

When its raised, my councillor colleagues of all political persuasions tut and splutter. Indignant about suggestions of better planning and shared values or better design or place making. It does not match their current conventions, unaware of the purpose of what they should be doing.

Yet here is the argument, well put together, that illustrates why these Councillors need challenged. If not rejected. This needs to happen in order to seek, not just innovation, but renewal of planning as an essential objective in delivering better places. They continue to advocate a market approach.  That, with the current planning system, devoid of meaning, brings planning and its purpose (which unfortunately appears to be all about helping developers) into disrepute.

Will Self offers no solutions other than governmental renaissance in planning.

I would love that to be the case. That government reforms it, but Labour, Liberal, and crucially SNP politicians fail to address this so it is to be left to pressure alone to change them. Against the commercial power of housebuilders in financial servitude to funding banks, there seems little chance.

Like most things, if one thinks in slightly parallel terms, it could be left to other non governmental social and enterprising mechanisms. Why not?

I am working on that. Its one reason I am still wanting to remain in local government.

About Paul

Works in the community View all posts by Paul

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