The following article appeared in the Daily Post on Friday 12th April 2013:
"Are our Planning Bodies too big?"
The sizes of planning committees could be pruned after Welsh Government research over how big they should be to make them work best.
Ministers in Cardiff have commissioned the work on the operation of local authorities' planning committees before they bring a White Paper by the end of the year on the future delivery of the planning system in Wales. So they have asked an independent body to examine and research the operation of planning committees in Wales to determine whether there is a link between 'efficiency and effectiveness' and 'committee size', according to a report to Denbighshire County Council's 30 - member planning committee...
I responded with this letter:
The proposal by the Welsh Government to look at the size of Planning Committees (DP April 12) is nothing more than tinkering at the edges. Planning law in Wales is in need of fundamental reform.
First of all planning law should be there to ensure that communities are sustainable and that planning consent should meet housing demands and not be geared predominantly towards the the profits of developers as is the case at present.
Secondly, Wales should have its own Planning Inspectorate not one answerable to Westminster, planning is devolved so let's take responsibility for it.
Thirdly, too much credibility is placed on housing demand numbers and viability reports produced by consultants who work hand in glove with developers.
Week in week out throughout Wales, developers are gaining consent for massive housing developments which are unsustainable and deliver a fraction of the affordable housing originally agreed, all because the Welsh Government and the Planning Inspectorate's guidance encourages corporate greed rather than to act in the public interest.
Councillor Arfon Jones,
Plaid Cymru Wrecsam.