December 2012/January 2013 – Materials
Politicians have a habit of moving their lips before engaging brain. The legislation concerning dangerous dogs is often cited as a case in point; and Tony Blair makes some interesting admissions in his memoirs about his government’s fox-hunting ‘ban’.
Certain members of the current government have been heard to go off half-cocked lately on planning-related issues, with topics such as wind power and green belt policy figuring in controversies. There’s a lot to be said for
kite-flying, but a little forethought can sometimes help to keep egg away from chin.
There was a suggestion last year that the housing crisis could be tackled by converting empty office buildings. As we report on page 24, there are practical limitations that restrict the scope for converting surplus offices. The work required is often not cost-beneficial. And while it is not unusual to have a paucity of parking spaces outside an office block, it is rather harder to sell a flat without parking provision.
More recent proclamations have advocated a revival of the garden city movement and the need to think big in planning. Exciting stuff, so long as they don’t plan on adding any traffic to any roads I ever drive on, thank you.
However, whenever I hear about big thinking in planning, I picture Poundbury – that growth on the side of Dorchester. Many like it. To me it is more wart than beauty spot. On the whole, I think I prefer stealth and subtlety to the vision thing.
Oh, and by the way... Season's greetings to all!