Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust –
“My hero is always John Betjemen who opened my eyes, at least, to what is beautiful about the building and the heritage and the city and will always be such.
My villain is whoever invented the Section 106 Agreement, which must have done more damage and is still doing more damage to cities than anything else ever produced by central government. The idea that you can build anything you like as long as you give the local authority a primary school somewhere else in the Borough is about as crass a way of polluting the planning system as you could possibly have invented.
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP – I think getting developers to put something back in to the community is a good idea as long as it doesn’t interfere with the judgements that have to be made.
(But of COURSE it affects the judgements that are made, why wouldn’t it? Permission given for five large new houses in the very heart of the Avebury World Heritage Site in exchange for building some starter homes elsewhere? Didn’t that involve someone’s judgement being influenced to the extreme disadvantage of Avebury, Margaret?! – Ed)
Simon Jenkins: It does. It wrecks the plan
Margaret Hodge: I don’t agree. It doesn’t have to at all. That just depends on the quality of the planning decision.
(Darn right it does! – Ed)