The system is a mess like all the systems before it

I read with amusement Chris Shepley's column on the National Planning Policy Framework (Planning, 21 October, p16).

On the one hand, I am furious that - to quote one commentator - politicians with the approach of a "wrecking ball" can come in and wantonly destroy. They either have no idea of what they are doing or else are deliberately seeking to deceive people as to their real intentions.

On the other hand, I can't actually get too worked up about it because we've seen such behaviour from governments before and a credible system will just have to be put back together again.

Facts, after all, have an uncomfortable habit of reasserting themselves.

The most unfortunate thing is that the government's ideologically driven approach has engendered a defensive response, largely precluding intelligent debate about the sort of planning system that might actually deliver better results.

I am no defender of the UK planning system as it was before the coalition came to power. Too much of the development it produced was - and still is - dismally poor in terms of design. Indeed I sometimes wonder, given the physical outcomes that we see around us, just what the point of the planning system is.

The coalition was obsessed with scrapping regional planning, but it would probably have done better to abolish core strategies, instead providing the necessary finance to deliver decent quality developments to meet regional targets.

As it is, we're probably on course for the worst of all worlds: a double-dip recession, an ever-worsening housing shortage and for most of what does get built to still not be any good. Not bad for 18 months work, Messrs Cameron and Clegg.

Philip Bisatt, Somerset

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