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Editor’s comment: Are we all ready to take ‘a fast track to beauty’?

PUBLISHED: 08:30 29 August 2020

Join editor Andre Langlois in October for a Zoom discussion on planning.

Join editor Andre Langlois in October for a Zoom discussion on planning.

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A great many interesting points came out of the Ham&High’s Let’s Talk About Planning event on Zoom on Monday.

It’s fair to say that most of those present expressed significant reservations about Robert Jenrick and the government’s white paper, Planning For the Future, which is currently up for public comments.

One attendee raised issues with questions posed in the consultation itself.

The question above is one such question. The options available were: less reliance on cars, more green/open spaces, energy efficiency of new buildings, more trees, and other (please specify).

I plumped for ‘other’ and then specified “all of the above and others”, but I’m pleased we can take it as read that “sustainability is at the heart of” these proposals.

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Another question is: “Do you agree with our proposals for implementing a fast track for beauty?”

Now, aside from the fact that I’m calling my next album ‘A Fast Track For Beauty’, this raises the prospect of lively debate.

The white paper says “schemes which comply with local design guides” will have a “greater certainty about their prospects of swift approval”, and refers to “pattern books” and “proven popular designs”.

Find me in the pub of an evening and I’ll be as much an arbiter of taste as the next person - normally when it comes to music or film - but I’m not sure I’m ready to make a stand on what constitutes beauty when it comes to town planning.

These points, and even what we covered on Monday, only scratch the surface of the white paper.

The consultation can be found at gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future and it’s vital that people take part.

We’ll organise another Zoom event before it closes at 11.45pm on October 29.


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