Heartening letter lifts gloom

This has been a pretty dismal year for the Planning Industry, less so I think because of the policy changes, more because of a burgeoning sense of gloom about our economic and environmental prospects.

Robert Weeks’ letter did however lift the gloom somewhat because I was beginning to despair of my fellow planners’ ability ever again to negotiate in a meaningful way.

He is right of course to set his Council on a course of problem resolution, of encouraging the parties to meet to resolve their differences. And in turn of saying that a key measure is the number of complaints about the service rather than simply testing the number of applications determined within the statutory period.

One of the least appealing side effects arising from our recent age of micro-management age has been the tendency of planning authorities to ask (did I say ask?) that an application be withdrawn because they deem that there was insufficient time to sort out any difficulties.

How withdrawing an application after all that had usually been invested in it was ever going to be in the applicant’s interest I will never know!

I suppose that is the problem; we have all withdrawn into our little redoubts, be they formed within the public, private or voluntary sectors and forgotten that planning is the least precise of the environmental sciences. I am sure there is something about mediation in the RTPI’s motto?

So well done Robert you have restored some of my faith in our much maligned profession. If I am ever lucky enough to be engaged by a client with interests in Stratford on Avon I shall inwardly smile to myself!
Richard Borrows Ward Associates, York

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