Monday, 3 December 2012

Too little, too late!

Too little, too late surely must be our response to the promises made by our weak and unimpressive Environment minister John Griffiths following last week's floods. Mr Griffiths was interviewed by Huw Edwards on the new flagship Wales Report which was then reported by BBC Wales where he said that:
"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!

3 comments:

Jac o' the North, said...

What is amazing about this debate is how the Planning Inspectorate escapes mention. Almost as if it doesn't exist, or plays no role. Or maybe the Welsh Government is just reluctant to expose its impotence?

Anonymous said...

Being a long way from all of this what surprises me is how deep the water was. You don't usually get five foot of water on a flood plain.

My guess is that they built some kind of flood prevention bank around the site, which when breached meant that the water couldn't drain away.

None of the TV coverage seemed interested in what caused the flood, only in the human interest stuff.

Can anyone enlighten me.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

We need to go back to the Planning Application
1. What was the mitigation against flooding suggested by the Environment Agency?
2. Did Denbighshire CC Planning Committee impose conditions to comply with the mitigation?
3. Did the developer comply fully with the Planning Conditions?

Sorry I can't answer your question but you are probably right.