Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Enemies of Enterprise

Cameron and Cable attack planning - courtesy of
You know, I was trembling with excitement when I read the latest discussions about the planning system in England in Planning this week - apologies if you can't access this because you are not an expert planner like me! Down south, planning is regarded as being a major barrier to economic expansion. It's just what I have been saying for a few years now and of course, much of this free-range thinking has been adopted in Scotland for some time now with major developments like Edinburgh's Garden District getting the nod from the Scottish Government without a planning application even being submitted. Fantastic!

The Tory Vince Cable said, "I hear countless stories of perfectly reasonable developments being thwarted by bizarre planning rules. We want the standard answer to be yes - not no". Well actually the standard answer is yes or yes..subject to and sometimes no so that shows how much he knows. And on the same day, Cable also implied that the planning system was a major contributory factor to the recession down south. Nothing to do with the banks at all! Nothing to do with lack of borrowing opportunities! Just planning holding everything back. And last weekend while I was writing about MIPIM and wondering why my daffodils hadn't come up, David Cameron was talking about the "town hall officials who take forever with those planning decisions that can be make or break for a business" - they are among the "enemies of enterprise" who must be identified and destroyed.

Now you and I know this is just political posturing - but at the same time, the writing is on the wall for many of these enemies of enterprise - we see enough of them here in Auchterness! Let's think about the Enemies of Enterprise in Scotland - in fact, let's make a list:

  • local government officers who spend more time reading the Sun and drinking Irn Bru at their desks than dealing with planning applications
  • planning officials who refuse to take brown envelopes and holidays abroad as part of the Planning Gain agreements
  • development management staff who turn down invitations from developers to accompany them to lap dancing clubs
  • community activists who have issues around personal hygiene or who wear sandals and grey corduroy trousers
  • overweight women in brightly coloured cardigans who shout at developers during public meetings
  • noisy children carrying placards and dropping litter
  • anyone from Newton Mearns (the middle class slum near Glasgow)

These people represent a small proportion of the population yet they have a disproportionately negative effect on business, enterprise and property development - in fact they are clearly destroying the country. I have identified them - who will take them on?

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