Saturday, 23 October 2010

Another triumph for the UK development industry

the secret HQ of A+DS in Bakehouse Close, Edinburgh
I'm sure my regular readers were all agog this week at the stimulating news from across the border of dramatic cuts in public spending by the Tories. Particularly relevant to the exciting world of town planning was the news that CABE (The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) was to be flushed down the toilet of common sense. This is a major boost for the nation's development industry as CABE notoriously tried to block some very fine projects and of course architects resented their interference in the design process too. So architects and developers can now do what they want - which is fantastic news isn't it?

For those working in CABE, the key words here are 'package', 'early retirement' and 'consultancy'. I've said many times before that every change in government policy conceals a human tragedy of some kind - but also an opportunity. So as the memory of CABE rots on the compost heap, let's see what this might mean for Scotland when the axe is swung next year. What sort of message has it sent to Wee Fat Alex Salmond, a man who likes to oil the wheels of industry?

First of all, Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) may be binned - it is the equivalent of CABE with a similar reputation for stopping things happening in the dynamic world of Scottish property development. So while there may be no more Bakewell Tarts in Bakehouse Close there will be many more fine developments throughout Scotland like Glasgow Harbour, the Tesco at Port Glasgow and of course like the amazing developments of that dynamic duo in Aberdeenshire - Sir Ian and Dr Donald! This is a certainty - property folk are just waiting to be set free and the demise of A+DS would be a gigantic first step. So when the bonfire of the kangaroos comes to Scotland they could be the first to go.
the Chairman of A+DS is a woman - how much worse can things get?
A final point. The huge opportunity for the development industry created by the disappearance of A+DS will only be maximised if planning departments disappear too. As I've suggested in recent posts, the heavy weight of bureaucracy pressing down on our marvellous development industry is a big negative for Scotland. So let's have some clear radical thinking next time round and bin the planning departments!

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