Increasingly authoritarian

Some politicians seem to be ‘men on a mission’ and, yes. its mostly men. In a hurry to achieve an objective so they are voted in again in the next local or national electoral cycle and brook no opposition or delay.

Take the Chancellor. Apparently frustrated with local authorities who appear to be failing to deliver new Local Plans under the mired-in-the-courts National Planning Policy Framework [NPPF] containing house building plans that roll back the Green Belt. Perhaps in his eyes they are failing to contribute to his need as manager of the economy to pump up GDP and reduce unemployment through the well-known multiplier effect of the building sector. Whatever it is, in a written statement to Parliament on 21 July 2015 the Government provided more information saying that “in cases where no local plan has been produced by early 2017—five years after the publication of the NPPF—we will intervene to arrange for the plan to be written, in consultation with local people, to accelerate production of a local plan.”

So by the time our Local Plan has been through inspection in public Guildford Borough Council [GBC] will be at the edge of this performance envelope. In the HM Treasury’s July 2015 Productivity Plan, Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation, the Government said that it was “vital” that LPAs made local plans to decide how to meet the need for housing in their areas. In other words, if you don’t do it we will do it for you. This would be horrendous for my village already threatened with being quadrupled in size, forced to provide land in the Green Belt by local authority use of the NPPF planning rules in local plan development for 20% of the proposed housing number in the recently published final West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment [SHMA].

Take my borough’s lead councillor. This frustration appears to be repeated at local authority level but is nastier in its delivery.  The lead councillor of our borough recently when interviewed used the opportunity to attack personally one of the the few elected representative on my local council intent on defending the Green Belt. This came hot on the heels of one of his fellow councillors ejecting the same councillor from two review groups for publicising material already in the public domain. Any reasonable person might think this is a witch hunt. More importantly, it makes you begin to question what the lead councillor and his Executive group and councilllors in his predominant political group are doing that they don’t want discussed in public.

Increasingly authoritarian? It’s beginning to look like it at national and local level and you begin to think its no coincidence they are all members of the same political party. They will brook no opposition.

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One thought on “Increasingly authoritarian

  1. And of course, should you want evidence that might throw light on such actions, you could always submit a Freedom of Information [FoI] request. My local council seems very good at refusing those FoI requests that really count in the planning sphere, like FoI requests about their contact with the Cayman Islands based developer that is proposing housing at the old Wisley airfield site. But hang on a minute, this government is on the case with it looking as if they are planning to charge members of the public and businesses for FoI requests to try and remove requests they deem vexatious and that “interfere with the running of government”. Even the Daily Mail is in print on this, so it might just be contentious for journalists too http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3266710/Ministers-start-CHARGING-Freedom-Information-New-plan-cut-number-requests-sparks-fury.html. As others have commented, anything to stop electors lifting the lid on things this government, local authorities and assorted quangos would rather stay hidden.

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