8th April 2022

Isn’t our local government democracy in a total mess?

Isn’t our local government democracy in a total mess? You can too much of a good thing. And democracy is one of them. Look at the layers of government we have in the UK. Parish Councils, District and Borough Councils, County Councils, MPs. I’m not […]
1st April 2022

How to stop local Authority Planners from quitting

How to stop local Authority Planners from quitting There are very few planners I know who didn’t start their career in a Local Authority. Some have stayed and risen through the ranks whereas others have moved to the private sector or consultancy. (It amuses me […]
25th March 2022

The rise of citizen power: it’s time to learn your ABC

The rise of citizen power: it’s time to learn your ABC As we head towards the local election on May 5, we are noticing a strange phenomenon: the rise of the residents’ groups as a political force. Take for example Spelthorne Council in Surrey. This […]
18th March 2022

Where have all the planners gone?

Where have all the planners gone? It came to me in blinding flash just as I was falling asleep. The reason that planning is slow is not the system. It is because there is no one to manage the system. It is like an engine […]
11th March 2022

Has reorganisation of planning ever worked?

Has reorganisation of planning ever worked? This week’s question: how many housing Ministers have there been since 1990? (Have a guess and let me know, I’ll tell you the answer next week) We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to […]
3rd March 2022

Do we learn anything from history?

Do we learn anything from history?   Normally, I try to keep this column cheery but this week, it is difficult to be humorous in light of what’s happening in Ukraine. A couple of weeks ago, I and many other commentators thought Putin was posturing […]
25th February 2022

Attention all would-be councillors: get your knockers out

Attention all would-be councillors: get your knockers out This week’s question: How many PMs have served under Her Majesty? Answer at foot of column Panic! It’s only ten weeks to the local elections. The pundits (opinionated journalists, out of work politicians and the bloke down […]
18th February 2022

Let’s bring back some good old-fashioned news reporting

Let’s bring back some good old-fashioned news reporting Question of the week: what’s the population of Ukraine? If ten years ago I asked you to pinpoint Ukraine on a map I bet most of you would have had a hard job. You would probably still […]
11th February 2022

Taking action with Action Groups

Taking action with Action Groups Things are going well. The council officers seem very pleased with your plans for a new development. The site has been allocated and they are short on numbers and your scheme will really help. There is an action group called […]
4th February 2022

How to set up an Action Group

How to set up an Action Group This week’s question. How many bars are there in the House of Lords and House of Commons? Answer at the foot of the column. In over 30 years in the property communications business (I started when I was […]