"We now have a system in place that wherever housing is proposed in flood risk areas it has to be referred to the Welsh government to consider whether it needs to be called in, so we now take a much more strong line to make sure that only appropriate development takes place."Since when have we had this process of calling in planning applications on flood plains? Is it a typical Welsh Government knee jerk reaction to crisis or is it something that was intended to be included all along in this magical new 'Planning Bill' that "We" are working on?
This begs the question of who are "We"? In the article John Griffiths goes on to say, "There's a much more hands-on approach from Welsh government," to which we the cynics comment, "You don't say."
Our cynicism arises out of the term "We"! There is no "We" it is in fact "They" of the Planning Inspectorate who even though planning is devolved do not gain their considerable authority from the Welsh Government but rather from the Westminster Government. You now have the one and only reason why Planning Policy in Wales is such an unholy mess with unelected bureaucrats from Westminster being able to strike out Welsh Local Development Plans at a whim and imposing their own housing figures which unsurprisingly seem to meet the aspirations of developers.
We can only speculate what the Planning Inspector would have done on appeal had Denbighshire Planning Committee refused the Glasdir development in Rhuthun on the basis it was on a flood plain, but we know in our hearts they would have given it the go ahead.
What we need is a new planning system in Wales that has the needs of the people of Wales at its heart and not one that reacts to the whims of developers and Westminster politicians like Nick Boles.
We need an Environment Minister with balls!