Friday, August 26, 2011

Planning Gain for Community Benefit

Powys County Council copied me into a press release today concerning a proposed development at Hay-on-Wye. I so approve of the principle involved that its worth a blog post. The proposal involves a development company, Powys County Council itself and the local community. The public-private partnership principle is that enough profit should be generated by private sector delivery of profitable retail and social care space to finance a new 240 pupil school and community centre (at no cost to the Council). Don't know the details of the proposals, but I do like the underpinning principle. Lets have more of it. And lets look at the sorts of other things that might work.

Here's me thinking aloud. Yesterday, I visited the HQ of the Powys Local Health Board at Bronllys. It looks just as I imagine an east European prison block might have looked on being left derelict for 20 years. How on earth can staff morale survive entry through the door laughably marked 'RECEPTION'. OK inside, and Bronllys is a nice place. I wonder if there's any potential for housing development profit to finance investment in the LHB HQ?

Or this. Castle Caereinion is a small village near our home, where numbers in the school are just above OK. With enough new housing permission, the school's future could be assured (and the local shop) and a 200 yd bypass of the village centre could be built which would greatly enhance the village centre. Cannot advocate this though without the local council's support.

Or on a bigger scale. If £30 billion worth of permissions of varying sorts could be identified in S E Wales, a new Severn Barrage could be built by the private sector, saving the Welsh Uplands from crazy desecration by onshore wind farms.

Or even the Montgomery Canal. I always thought that it could have been fully restored to its former glory, if enough development opportunity had been identified alongside it. And on and on we could go.

Unfortunately the reality is different. For example a developer has been seeking permission to build a Marstons Pub in Welshpool for over 30 weeks now. I'm told that another application for a Marston's Pub submitted in London on the same day was approved in 7 weeks. I hear stacks of similar complaints about attitude towards development in Powys. Seems to me unforgivable that potential job creating work should be left sitting in planning department in trays at present. But let me not be churlish. This post is about my County Council actually showing initiative.


Anonymous said...

wasting your breath glyn. saying no is in their dna. powys will never thrive without a complete change at the top of the planners.

Glyn Davies said...

A local chalet owner told me the other day that one of the Montgomeryshire-based planners was brilliant. Nearly fell off my shooting stick.

Anonymous said...

If you are unhappy with the planning system in powys, why do you not take up the post as planning inspector at powys county council yourself?

Anonymous said...

I hope that by now, Glyn, you will have seen the bigger picture regarding the proposals for Hay-on-Wye. I am quite shocked that you would endorse such a proposal – all done behind Hay's back without any consultation whatsoever with the people of Hay and with a notorious developer who constantly goes bust on every project they get involved in – and hand-in-glove with one of the most unpopular businessmen in Hay whose motives have always been somewhat dubious. Interesting to note too, that this businessman's 'charity' association is co-directed and invested in by two town councillors, one of whom is the lady mayor.

Smell a rat, Glyn? I certainly do and it's quite an unpleasant smell. Roll on the May elections.