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Landed sentry

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Planning reform is never an easy business. All that consultation that you have to go through. As far as the latest government Green Paper on this subject is concerned, a little more consultation, at the highest level, would not have gone amiss. It might have pre-empted the call for legally aided third party rights of appeal against any sort of controversial planning application. But where does this enthusiasm for protecting third parties come from? Astragal understands it comes not from hippie protestors but from a far squeakier, cleaner source. No less than the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs - DEFRA - otherwise know as the Department for the Elimination of Farming. And why should such hostile thoughts come from such a source? Because departments are protective about their patches, that's why. Planning, you see, comes under the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

Construction, which obviously has an interest in planning matters, is run by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Architecture is run out of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Guess which department thinks it was not properly consulted about planning, even though it is responsible for the entire countryside? That's right. And the minister who is causing trouble?

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