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Why do we kow-tow to the 'anti' brigade?

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I met one of my earliest clients in the local planning department the other day - the most sour-faced and miserable client I ever had - and he and his wife have nothing better to do in their retirement but to comb through the local planning applications in order to lodge objections. (Curiously enough, I designed him a rather revolutionary home, which he still lives in. But it is always 'do as I say, not as I do'.)

It is a great pity that the general public was ever allowed to voice its opinion on planning matters - and a greater pity that they were then invited to do so by notices which nowadays are posted on or near the site - because the reaction is always the same.

The ''ang 'em' brigade, which aims to stop anybody doing anything - and the more worthwhile and imaginative the proposal, the more vociferous the opposition - is always well-organised and out in force. Especially those who have just moved in, knowing quite well that the adjacent field which they overlook is scheduled for development but swearing utter ignorance of any such outrageous proposal once they get to live there.

I have never yet heard of any petition organised in favour of any planning proposal; such petitions are always utterly predictably anti-everything - and yet local councillors, perhaps with the elections looming near, are very much influenced by them.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if a cloud of positive thinking could infect the whole country, so that there could occasionally be expressed some support for our efforts or, when there is still opposition, it could be constructive opposition ('we don't like this or that, but have you thought of looking at it this other way?').

Arthur Quarmby


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