SixPAC believes that the British countryside needs protecting from unhepful development by encouraging joined up thinking from all departments.
- It seems just about everyone is upset by what's going wrong with the way planning issues are handled, but no one seems to do anything because powerlessness is integral to the system.
- It seems almost crazy that a single uninformed opinion from an official source can be continually cited as an excuse for doing something else entirely unethical. We need to introduce ethics back into decision-making. It's not a case of can it be done, but should it be done.
- It's astonishing that each layer of democracy can be over-ridden by a later heirarchy if the aims of the upper group's aims don't line up. For all the work done to appear impartial, there's nothing impartial about ignoring the wishes of everyone else.
- It's bizare that a report can be cited as cast iron gospel in one situation and treated as an advisory in another. Arbitrary is unacceptable. We need to decide that the reports are reliable or stop commisioning them. Or have a process that scrutinises the reports if they are used.
- It is actually crazy to compartmentalise decisions and reduce checks and balances to a series of checkboxes to be uses as cover for subsequent dysfunctional actions.
However, I think the number one threat is a lack of public participation is when and where meetings are held to discuss issues that affect all our lives. How can anyone who works get to a meeting in Taunton? So who gets to speak for everyone - Retirees on fixed incomes who can't afford to get there or pre-school kids? It's seriously undermining the public's right to be consulted if the representation is being deliberately reduced - What needs to happen is decision-makers need to convene where the people are. Village Halls after 6pm so at least the demographic base of opinion would reflect reality more closely.
What seems clear to me is that there are no legitimate avenues to fight injustice left because they've have been deliberately eroded. The public fight tooth and nail with massive costs to their mental health and personal wealth on a deeply emotional level which holds little sway in the deliberative process. The rich developers and wealthy businesses can afford to buy in experts - Professionals, who have no interest in truth, just winning the case through relying on every aspect of the law. They don't even have to address other people's concerns. They gamble that if they drag it out for long enough, everyone will lose interest and they'll never have to think about money again.
- Is there anything that prevents applicants from resubmitting their applications hundreds of times to deliberatlely game the system and waste thousands of man hours?
- Is there any reason a wealthy individual can tie up planning departments for years without facing any repercussions?
- Is there any way an applicant can be forced to reimburse local Councils if their half dozen public meetings, regular appeals, and appeals of the appeal are ultimately unsuccessful?
- Is there any way that developers who win approval for applications that are detrimental to individuals and communities can be forced to compensate their victims?
The answer is NO.
Historically this situation exists today because only certain people had rights. When only landowners could vote, they only voted for themselves and they only wrote laws to benefit themselves.