Sunday, August 19, 2007

Politics at the grass roots, Noak Bridge Parish Council does the business

There is a planning application in Noak Bridge for 20 houses and flats. Noak Bridge is a village between Basildon and Billericay with a Parish Council and they have been doing just what the lowest local authority tier should do for their community; leafleting the immediately affected area and holding a meeting to explain the planning process and determine people's views as evidence for the District Council Planning Committee. It was efficient, responsive and very relevant. It was also based very much on the concept of voluntary public service, as Parish Councillors do not get paid. If you tried to duplicate that service as part of, say, some sort of quango I wonder how much it would cost? Oh, and this sort of democratic representation is one of the things some people think should be done away with. Apparently, it hinders the planning process and matters should be left in the hands of 'experts', who will, no doubt, charge by the hour.

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