Thursday, 21 April 2011

The art of objection

An evening attending a local authority planning committee meeting leaves you tired, thirsty and headachey. It almost always involves passages of carpetchewing tedium, interspersed if you are lucky with high drama and/or a few laughs. Often, there is a need to bite one's tongue in the face of lies, incompetence or flagrant idiocy.

But nevertheless, it is good for the soul, and reminds those of us who are involved in making planning applications of what 'due process' can include.

The goings on at such a meeting recently led me to reflect on whether objectors are better advised to behave reasonably, or to overegg their grievance for dramatic effect. On offer from objectors were, amongst other things (1) an articulate, well-informed account of the pros and cons of a scheme, concluding that on balance it should not be accepted and (2) a shouty rant. If you want to get something stopped - and of course the same spectrum of kinds of objection can be found in what people submit in writing - which is the more effective strategy? I'm not sure that the answer is obvious - it would make a good research project.

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