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Do readers consider the UK planning system to be a help or a hindrance?
Many of our town centres were built in the good old days, before planning laws, and most of the buildings are attractive or even beautiful. Modern shopping centres seem to be ugly and yet get approval by the planners.
One neighbour wanted to remove an earth bank to allow better and safer vehicular access to the property. This had to go through the planning process which took about 6 months and cost many hundreds. Why?
When agricultural land get re-classified as building land, its value increases by a factor of between a hundred and a thousand. I suspect this is a direct result of the planning restrictions and must be one reason why housing is so expensive in this country. But it does allow "our people" to make a lot of money!
What do readers think?
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Help or hindrance to what? You have quoted ugly shopping centres and a friend who wants to move an earth bank.
The reason the re-allocated farmland goes up in price is supply and demand: there is a shortage of new building land so of course it will sell for more than it does as farmland. If your comment is about housing development there is loads of brownfield land but developers don't want to develop these sites because they say 'people don't want to live there' - in other words, they can't make enough profit from them.
Add in that the industries/jobs are not where the houses are (or vice versa) and you have another layer to it all. For all his (many, many) faults, Brown did do the sensible thing when creating a Byzantine civil service - he put a lot of the new offices in areas of low employment so people could stay where they were and get a job.
So are the planning laws a hindrance? I don't think so - as you said at the start, they have the planning permission they just don't want to build yet because they are waiting until prices rise and they can make more money You can't force an industry to make something if they don't want to.
Quote: But it does allow "our people" to make a lot of money!
Who are 'our people'?
Quote: One neighbour wanted to remove an earth bank to allow better and safer vehicular access to the property. This had to go through the planning process which took about 6 months and cost many hundreds. Why?
No idea. I had no trouble at all when I applied to build a private car park from the Lake District National Park authority which involved change of agricultural land use. I took the personable approach and they were quick, friendly and obliging at minimal cost. I simply explained the predicament we were in and how it would benefit myself and neighbours if we had better access and car parking at our properties.
I found that particular planning application a good experience.
Didn't Cameron say he was going to remove all the red tape from planning applications so things could speed up and there would be no more long drawn out disputes between the various bodies.
Hi did, but then there were a load of comment that the moves would be bad at various levels.
There are two types of red tape - the sort that keeps jobsworths in their job, and the type that serves a purpose to get different groups working together. The latter is much harder to sort out.
Take the OP as an example: a complaint (which I agree with) about the ugliness of many modern developments. If you want less red tape, you will have more of that sort building - quick and cheap to put up but ugly as sin and we will less chance to review/object. The same applies at domestic level - one of the criticisms of the proposed changes was the imagined increase in 'I'm going to build this and to hell with you' if regulations were relaxed.
You can't have it both ways.
Again in the OP, moving an earth bank is not an easy task and (although I have no idea of the actual case) it would involve finding out why the bank is there at all, the logistics of moving the earth, and many other parts. Then you need to give locals that chance to review the plans and make any objections etc etc etc.
Quote: There are two types of red tape - the sort that keeps jobsworths in their job, and the type that serves a purpose to get different groups working together. The latter is much harder to sort out.
About a century ago, the British empire, which covered about a quarter of the globe was administered by slightly fewer people that we now "need" to administer Somerset. I wonder how many of the present-day army of jobsworths are really needed? Perhaps a cull is in order?
Maybe planning constraints are needed but with a bit of streamlining.
A cull is certainly in order. My dad has some old copies of the London Evening News going back to 1805 and there is a statistic in there that the whole of the British Empire had a civil service of some 700 people - it does make you wonder what they do now.
But back then I think they had more of a '**** happens' attitude whereas nowadays people don't accept errors or fate. There was no NHS, an embryonic police force and all the army required was manpower and someone to supply the weaponry, not the massive backroom supply chain we have now.
Quote: 1805 and there is a statistic in there that the whole of the British Empire had a civil service of some 700 people
I didn't believe that, so I looked it up. At that time the civil service was largely a sick joke, often used as a dumping ground for dimmer sons of the upper classes, some of whom couldn't really read or write, and for whom work was not a priority. There was a major reform mid century.
Anyway, here's some background on what the civil service really was in the 19th century.
It includes some notes on the massive backroom supply chain.
For too many public servants "work" is a place that they go and not something that they do!
Quote: For too many public servants "work" is a place that they go and not something that they do!
True for some of those at the top, but usually untrue for the bulk of the Civil servants who work in the 'front line' - they are as stressed out as any of those who work for private companies. Just as in private companies, they are frequently asked to meet impossible targets - unless they you take short cuts...
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