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When major planning decisions are made, whose interests are really served wonders Barbara Panvel?

Are planning decisions being made in the public interest or to benefit developers?

Though many offices and new flats are vacant, the Flapper and Firkin, a live music venue at Cambrian Wharf, is to be demolished and hotels, shops, bars, apartments and restaurants built - more of the same.

A Shirley resident protests about a development seeking planning permission – again, offices, car parks and a large hotel.

Residents foresee more congestion, more accidents, more lighting, more pollution and the loss of the ‘the little remaining bit of countryside’. Even if the local council rejects the application, the rejection may well be over-ruled by central government.

Plans for numbers of nuclear power stations and the 90+ applications for incinerators could have even greater health and safety implications, but they also will probably be railroaded through.

Would decisions be made in the public interest if some changes were made? A few items on my list would include these:

  • parliamentary candidates to be selected only from those with a record of service in the locality, who live in the constituency they hope to represent;
  • MPs required to vote according to their conscience on all matters – and Party Whips abolished;
  • closing of the revolving door between MPs and big business;
  • government no longer to award second contracts to companies who had not completed their first contract successfully;
  • meaningful questions to be asked politely at Prime Minister's Question Time and the Speaker to insist that the PM actually answered the questions;
  • referenda to be held on very important questions such as going to war, introducing GM crops and building more nuclear power.

Will anyone find the will and energy needed to campaign for beneficial change, making our political-economic-social systems ‘fit for purpose’?



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