Saturday, 10 August 2013

Totally Insane...Kamikaze

The excellent Marischal College Vandalism
You know, with all the fuss last week about Aberdeen City Council and their wee spat with Big Fat First Minister Alex Salmond, I got round to wondering what planners do these days.  More specifically, what do those folk in Aberdeen City Council Planning Department actually do - apart from trying to block development?

Most of you will be aware that our esteemed First Minister described the Council as, "...totally insane, indeed kamikaze", over their various efforts to block investment in the Granite City. The most recent and painful example of this is of course the tragic fate of Sir Ian Wood's Union Terrace Gardens project which would have been a Golden Opportunity for the Silver City to become an International Jewel in the Crown of Town Planning's Hall of Fame.  I'm still heartbroken about this but I managed to put aside the bitter memories of blubbering intae ma keyboard when the news was announced.  I went back to basics and navigated to the website of the Goons themselves - the Royal Town Planning Institute and their nice wee Scottish section.

Here I learned that RTPI Scotland aims to 'support people and organisations to create great places for people across Scotland'. They do this through:

  • leading thinking on how to create great places for people
  • supporting our Members to develop their skills
  • managing our knowledge and sharing it with Members and stakeholders
  • brokering dialogue and action amongst key influencers on planning issues
  • providing and demonstrating our value to Members
Now is it just me or is someone in the RTPI really struggling with the English language and basic grammar?  Since when did the gibberish, 'supporting our Members to develop their skills' pass as grammatically correct?  I may be old fashioned but I would have said 'supporting our members in developing their skills'.  Well actually I wouldn't have said anything like this at all but anyway let's just say that whoever wrote that isn't going to get a job at Auchterness!

Leaving that aside, it is clear that the RTPI is on the ball - 'leading thinking', 'great places', 'managing our knowledge', 'brokering dialogue' and 'providing and demonstrating our value to members' - and this all sounds tremendously exciting doesn't it?  These are pearls from someone who has an MBA of course.  I recognise this as I too received an MBA during time at Scottish Enterprise as did all the secretaries, wee lassies and cleaners - all part of the Scottish Enterprise culture of looking after their own.

But does this stream of ultimate wisdom, vast ambition and deep expertise percolate into the brains of planners in Aberdeen?  I doubt it.  It's time for a radical change in planning.  The RTPI is out of touch and have to do more than publish exciting words if they are to encourage The Enterprise!  It's time for timeless skills like my own to be recognised and for developers to be freed from the shackles of planning departments like Aberdeen City Council's.  In fact this applies to the whole country!  It is time for development control (or development management as it is now called) to be struck from the statute book and for these matters to be privatised forthwith.  No one cares anymore - it is over.

By the way, Christian Weir, 23, of Aberdeen, has been charged with malicious mischief in connection with applying graffiti to the walls of the Council HQ - I wish him well in court.

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