Most of us care about planning policy – even if we don’t know it at the time.
I was door-knocking in Canonbury the other day and called on an eminent economist. “Aha, I’m glad you’ve called, there’s something very important I want to ask your views on“; so in I went, frantically invoking the spirit of Vince and dredging key policies from the memory bank. And then it turned out to be about a nearby planning application. Not interest rates, but lots of interest. I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Planning applications rouse strong passions. Some unite – or divide – whole neighbourhoods. Others may only involve one or two people, but still have such a lasting impact – after all, it’s your home, your business, your life.
A lot of Islington people take an active interest in local planning issues, but many more, understandably, don’t have much to do with the planning process until they’re concerned about a specific application. And suddenly you can find that ‘policy’ is against you.
The planning policy framewok is overhauled about once a decade – and Islington’s is being looked at now. It has to go through several stages of consultation and the latest has gone live here.
There are sections on housing, open spaces, environment, jobs, tall buildings, shops and transport, among others. A lot of the planning rules are set by central Government, or the London Plan, but there are still some areas where Islington can make its own policy.
Various interest groups from big developers to the local Friends of the Earth will no doubt have their say.
I’d encourage individuals to register, take a look, make comments, and suggest any changes. More than your loft conversion may be at stake….