Last year, Cornwall’s councillors became alarmed by the way the Government was ‘disciplining’ planning authorities that dare to refuse applications from the mega-developers. This is done through awarding huge costs against councils at appeals if they lose. So a peer review of Cornwall Council’s planning process was set in motion to try to find ways of streamlining the system. A team of councillors and planning officers being sent to Cornwall by the Local Government Association to look at what was going on.
Amazingly, given Cornwall Council’s record in promoting building, this anonymous team concluded that Cornwall’s councillors were ‘anti-development’. But it doesn’t stop there. In advance of the formal report, I’m reliably informed that they’ve concluded Cornwall Councillors should ‘recognise the benefits of development’ and ‘become ambassadors for development in their communities’.
Is this the final victory for the neo-liberal ideologues, who are intent on reducing the democratic process to the status of rubber-stamping growth and the profits of businesses? No longer supposed to represent the people, councillors are to represent developers to the people! There doesn’t seem to be too much point in holding elections any more. Although, if you can convince most people voluntarily to vote for growth-at-all-costs councillors then I suppose you can fool all of the people all of the time.