Bribing local people so they’ll support planning applications is a growing trend and in the latest example people near a windfarm in Cornwall will get up to £150 and it is intended to expand the concession to people living near future developments. Julia Davenport, chief executive of the company, denied it was a “bribe” and said it was natural for locals to get “recognition” for doing their bit to combat climate change. So not a bribe, just “recognition”! The Department of Energy and Climate Change uses slightly less Sicilian language though. They say they are currently looking at “a range of financial incentives to encourage more communities to accept wind farms”.
Is it right though? The undeniable purpose of Bimbyism is to tip the scales against heritage protection by incentivising locals. Nationally significant heritage sites are nationally significant so it seems wrong that local bribes should affect their welfare. It isn’t that we’re anti-developments but surely planning decisions should be based on the merits of the case not on the fact that a few people that happen to be living in the area just now are being offered money to say yes?