Some planning laws pay little heed to common sense or community wishes; they tend to follow the whims of certain planning or conservation 'officers' who assume too much authority; they demand £200 for every application whether it succeeds or not (we are often subjected to off-putting bureaucratise form filling for something that should be relatively straightforward.

I would like to see the community that are affected by such laws consulted more closely: rather than a single tiny advert in the paper, why not telephone or write to the people directly affected (even better, send a junior clerk out to talk to people).

Planning laws should be simplified (as should the forms); a more common sense approach taken; reduce the fee – how many of us have £200 to donate to some council administration office? Money is short for all of us  – for hourly paid workers that takes a lot of toil and for what?

May I also suggest a quarterly consultation between a community and the planning and conservation officers (in village or town hall or church hall) to discuss ideas and get some informed discussion on both sides – it can seem as though the local govt construct insurmountable walls to keep voters at bay or worse, ill-informed!

Why is this idea important?

 

Direct consultation would return some common sense in planning back to the people it directly affects;

planning application fee reduction would enable the less-well off to improve their community without losing their hard-earned cash

2 examples: 

1. we are keen gardeners in our town in North Yorkshire; in our conservation area several of us have back gardens that are overshadowed by a 100ft high self-seeded sycamore tree that no-one wants as it seeds and drops sap in our gardens and restricts growth of useful plants; rather than actually listen to people it was decreed that we could 'slightly thin' it out but the big problem remains and is growing; if we draw attention to it, our tyrannical conservation officer slaps TPO on everything.  

Yet, how come they chop down the trees in our town centres?

2. if a garage/outbuilding is obviously falling down and indeed has no architectural merit nor is it situated near the main road, why do we still have to apply for planning permission (another £200) to demolish it and replace it with a well-constructed, ecological, architecturally sympathetic structure.  Even the planning officer agreed and said that the law contravened common sense and that our multiple £200s would be better spent on the project than on red tape.

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