Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Planning and Value.

I was confronted with a sobering thought last night whilst speaking with the planning officer who will deal with one of our imminent applications. I had met with his ecology and conservation officers colleagues last summer as we embarked upon a masterplanning process and I put it to the officer that we had never actually received any feedback on our proposition. "You won't do now", came the response. "They've both got the boot".
This is sobering for two reasons. Firstly, of course, one feels for the officers who have lost their jobs. Secondly, though, it is sobering to think that a large Metropolitan Borough has no ecological or conservation resource.
The project that we are working has at it's heart a feature of ecological and heritage value and there is an opportunity to enhance this value as part of our proposition. We are working to identify all of the parties (public, private and voluntary) who might help with realising this potential, but if maximum benefit from this proect is to be taken, and more importantly sustained, it will need to be led by the Borough Council.
The Council in question will no doubt be committing funds at a strategic level to projects of ecological and heritage value, but it seems short-sighted not to recognise the role of planning in tying different strategic themes together and having people in place to actually get things done.
I suppose though that the benefits of projects like ours are largely is intangible, whereas the cost of those two officers is all to easy to calculate.

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