Don’t meddle with planning!

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I have blogged previously about my home town of Malmesbury in Wiltshire and the two supermarkets that are trying to open in the town – Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. The planning issues have caused huge debate in the town and the local MP has been very vocal – possibly not with the towns best interests in mind…..

leave well alone please Eric!

The applications were both delayed from earlier in the year to allow further discussion (as the Government is keen to promote) and were decided in June by the planning committee – and the decision went as recommended by the planning officer – a refusal for Sainsbury’s (situated too far away from the town) and consent for the Waitrose on the site behind the old silk mill. In my opinion the correct decision – the Waitrose site is close enough to the town to work with it rather than against it.

So in an ideal world the planning officers decision (he is paid to advise after all) would stand. But not if you are the local MP it appears. He asked the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to call the decision in. This has caused further uncertainty in the town – exactly what it doesn’t need at the moment. After all, who would open a new business in a town with this level of uncertainty hanging over it?

I wrote this blog some while ago and didn’t get round to publishing it, I considered its subject was probably a ‘one off’ and perhaps I was getting worked up over nothing! But this week a very similar situation has occurred here in Nottingham – an MP asking for a decision to be called in again by Eric Pickles, despite all due process having been followed.

In my mind this just can’t be right, holding back land in this way delays both house building (which the Government are demanding) and the economy as a whole. It also appears to be totally at odds with what the Government claim to be trying to achieve with their ‘localism’ program.

Perhaps it’s time to think about local issues first and politics second?

Am I just getting old or is this wrong?

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I am getting old, sadly there is no escaping that fact. I am also becoming less tolerant, again a fact of getting older. This could make me less open to new ideas – I do like to think I have a fairly open mind to things (friends may tell me otherwise), but some things are just ‘not right’.

20130126-113535.jpgI have blogged before about my home town of Malmesbury, a small hilltop town in Wiltshire with a Norman Abbey at its centre. It’s a fairly traditional place (some would say boring) and that is one of its attractions to me. So a few years ago when a new vicar came to the abbey one of his ideas did not go down well with much of the town.

His idea? Turning the Abbey into a skate park for a week! If I am honest I still don’t like it – it just doesn’t feel ‘right’ to me – but it has now been happening for a number of years and is established on the calendar. It appears popular with the kids which is probably the result the church are after (although whether or not it results in ‘bums on seats’ is not clear).

I suppose we do now have a Pope who twitters (although I am guessing he has someone who does it for him!) – so perhaps it’s just my age?