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An end to secrecy and a lean, mean commentary

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AJ+.COLUMN

A kindly reader e-mailed in to explain why I could not see any planning application drawings on the Wandsworth planners'site at www. wandsworth. gov. uk/planning.

The answer is, or was, that its policy is 'to remove the drawings from the website once a decision has been made, allegedly for copyright reasons. As it is efficient, applications made in March have by now been dealt with.'

Efficient? Apparently, yes. My interlocutor speaks of a recent planning approval given in six weeks. Anyway, now he tells me that Wandsworth has seen the sword of truth and the shield of whatsit, and all planning records, complete with drawings from the dawn of time (or shortly after) will be on its site in a month's time, 'when it has tested the software'. I hope that is not like 'the cheque is in the post'. So I take everything back and pronounce Wandsworth planners a shining example to every planning department in the land - especially those which, for mysterious reasons, feel they need to draw a permanent cloud over their activities.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Reid Associates asked me to take a look at its new website, www. geoffreyreidassociates.

com. It is not half bad. It is fast. It is mostly text, with a few expandable thumbnails at strategic (rather than decorative) points. And its press releases have a nice aggressive ring:

'beaten off fierce competition from Nicholas Grimshaw and Gensler. . .' is a sample. You can smell the blood. Two criticisms. One is that the text is white on black. At least it is fairly readable in the sense that it is not green on dark blue, but it has been designed by someone with 20:20 vision - bad marks, because the size is not alterable. The second is that the text is overly prolix. I doubt if putative-developer clients are going to get to the end of a paragraph of four 17-word lines before passing on to more interesting things. I know, I know.

It is a sad reflection, but there it is. Still, good, lean, convincing stuff.

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