Building back badly

The good news is that Boris Johnson is scrapping the Conservatives’ plans to concrete over the countryside. The bad news is that nobody believes him.

By and large, the planning system is run by ‘professionals’ whose decisions are made in isolation from the politicians we like to think are in charge. The truth is elected representatives are at the mercy of a system which runs itself more or less without their input.

Government planning policy might set a vague framework and it is certainly true that a presumption against concreting over the countryside would go some way towards protecting our green and pleasant land.

Unfortunately there is a system, which employs a lot of well-paid professionals – not just planners but solicitors and barristers as well as builders – which runs everything to its own advantage.

It will take a great deal more than a few vague promises at a party conference for the Government seriously to protect us from green-field development.

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