The bigger the decision, the less we are consulted

Guardian letter:

“George Monbiot’s article about the proposed Oxford-Cambridge expressway exposes how grand schemes are conceived and presented for “consultation” when only the trivial issues remain (These projects shape our lives. But we have no say in them, Journal, 22 August).

My work takes me to parts of the world often criticised for being undemocratic, where plans worked out behind closed doors and backed by powerful interest groups are indeed presented for “consultation”. This fait accompli approach fails to give people a real say, however, and gives a veneer of democratic accountability to projects with negative social and environmental impacts. Western governments express concern over how local rights are ignored in such places, but this is also happening here.

To expressways and HS2s, add hundreds of smaller decisions imposed on people against their wishes. In my town, in spite of 100% local opposition, a successful secondary school was closed, with serious consequences for local demographics and economic life. Local voices in the UK are powerless against a system that is essentially authoritarian, blind to community issues and needs, and light years away from asking if the relentless pursuit of growth really is the solution to all our problems. As in many countries where democracy is cosmetic, our leaders resort to “national interest” or “we know best” arguments, while pandering to corporate interests or driven blindly by political targets.

The Oxford-Cambridge expressway is an example of a much deeper malaise at the heart of our democracy, where people have little say over what really affects their lives.
Christopher Tanner
Llandovery, Carmarthenshire”

Blackhill Quarry: planning application at DMC 4 September 2018 10 am

Owl says: How unfortunate that people who work for a living may not be able to attend.

But how fortunate so many of the DMC members are long-retired and can be at Knowle at 10 am with no problem at all.

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990
PROPOSAL:
LOCATION:
Outline application seeking approval of access for construction of up to 3251 sqm (35,000 sq ft) of B2 (general industrial) floor space with access, parking and associated infrastructure (details of appearance, landscaping, scale and layout reserved for future consideration)

Blackhill Quarry Woodbury Exeter EX5 1HD

… the application has been placed on the agenda for consideration by the Council’s Development Management Committee at their meeting on 4 September 2018.

The meeting will take place at The Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Knowle, Sidmouth and is due to commence at 10am.”

Another local government HQ sale horror story

District council sells town council HQ without consultation as the private developer’s offer was twice what the town council could afford:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/sale-crediton-town-hall-an-1927970