Start the day meeting all the lobby groups against the Planning White paper. The paper is a developers’ charter – and not only gets it wrong on many counts – but omits huge areas that do need tackling. For me – I want ordinary people, objectors – to have the same right of appeal as developers or applicants. It’s not fair that if you are refused permission you can appeal – but if it is granted and you are an objector – you cannot. Also – another bugbear – is that Her Majesty’s Inspector who doesn’t live in the local area and doesn’t have the same interests as local people – can overturn a decision made by the local Planning Authority. That could do with an overhaul too! (On which point … you can read more in my newspaper column on the topic from a little while back).
Then meeting with Foreign and Commonwealth officers to discuss all my many and various Parliamentary Questions on Darfur. I have raised Darfur in Parliament many times – and it was riveting to discuss the substantive issues with officers who really know the subject and working with those on the ground. Not going to discuss here as the material is something I want to think about how best to use.
Who represents the interests of the people who would live there if the development goes ahead?