All of us have experience of telephoning some large corporation, and becoming exasperated by the sheer inefficiency we encounter. And its always on the 'service' side rather than the 'sales' side! But today I was reduced to laughter after having a Powys County Council planning policy explained to me. Thought it was worth sharing.
My wife and I own a field of about two acres near our house (which is in the hamlet, probably known as Cil). We have always valued our privacy, and in the past have never contemplated allowing development on land we own near us - even when we have been asked to consider proposals. Things change, as family circumstances do, and today, I decided to contact my Local Planning Authority to ask how to go about including our little field in the local development plan. And this is what I was told.
In 2011, the LPA (Powys) advertised widely, seeking invitations from land owners to seek inclusion in the Powys Local Plan. About 1,000 replied, and these responses are being currently 'worked through'. Impression I have is that this process is not going to be completed any time soon (probably never) - if ever. It seems (after some discussion) that there is never going to be an opportunity to have our little field included.
Now this raised a few questions in my enquiring mind. So I removed my 'personal' hat and donned my 'political' hat and started asking some of them. For the purpose of this exercise we need to assume that our little field is the best located site in our hamlet from a planning perspective (which I think it is). Not relevant. There will not be an opportunity for its inclusion as 'development' land - ever. We missed the 2011 deadline. What if the ownership of the site had changed over the last 2/3 yrs (in our case, circumstances had changed)? No difference, and no mechanism for reconsideration. What if I were to put a planning application in for development on this field, better located for development than another parts of our little settlement? The Planning officers would recommend refusal of our site and recommend approval of the less suitable site. I promise you this is all true. And to trained professional planning officers is entirely logical!! And we are supposed to need more 'local needs' housing!!
So happens that we are not in the least bothered about the position at the personal level. But it is utterly bizarre. I suppose that's it was by a similar process that the House of Lords came to be created.