I have just finished reading a book about the green belt, which was more fun than it sounds. One passage in particular really stopped me in my tracks while I was reading:
‘One of the things that impressed me most about my dad’s take on it, because he was surprisingly left wing as well, was that he was the one who pointed out to me about planning permission, and the Town and Country Planning Acts being an attempt to nationalise the land. You couldn’t nationalise the banks and you couldn’t nationalise the land, because that’s what they really wanted to do, but you could nationalise the right to develop it, so no one had a right, even though they owned it, without the consent of the community. I’d grown up among architects – bloody planning permission, you know, making you do this, making you do that – but it is the consent of the community.’ He smiled. ‘It’s a beautiful idea.’
I have spent a few years on council planning committees, been on summer schools and training courses, but I have never heard anybody describe the planning system in those terms before.