Monday, December 20, 2010
The architecture critic in last Sunday's Observer set out why the Government's localism bill is bound to lead to trouble. Eric Pickles, he says, "seems to have an idea of a 'community' as being a harmonious entity, sharing common aims and hopes, and civilised ways of resolving differences". The reality is far from this and there are bound to be feuds and bitterness as well as eccentric decisions when "communities" (ie. parishes and villages) are given the right to produce their own development plans and propose or veto housing developments within their boundaries. A nimby's charter by any other name. The correct term for this kind of policy is "atomisation" rather than "localism". Without the countervailing pressure of Government ensuring that views and interests beyond the parochial get some sort of look in, chaos will ensue. But then of course the Government has said that they see "chaos" as a positive product of the Big Society approach - a necessary by- product of their ideological desperation to destroy as much of "The State" as they can. It is bound to lead to a post code lottery where the rich areas prosper and the poorer areas sink.