Every indication is the government’s commitment to localism is yet another hollow slogan, now to be abandoned in a headlong rush to concrete over our countryside, ignoring the resulting congestion, flooding, detriment to quality of life and loss of green belt which can never be recovered.
In my own district of Chichester I understand government plans envisage something like a 20 per cent increase in the housing stock over 15 years, irrevocably changing for the worse the whole character of a lovely part of West Sussex.
Strangely enough, democracy can halt the concrete! All that is required is for someone, perhaps local or national newspapers, to approach every candidate for local elections in their area with the question: ‘Do you or do you not approve of current plans for xxxx houses to be built in our district over the next 15 years?’ – and publicise the results.
There is little doubt those answering no would enhance their election prospects, while those answering yes or refusing to answer would very much detract from them. Done widely enough around the country, and followed up by applying the same technique for parliamentary and European elections, the chances must surely be high of another dramatic about turn in policy and perhaps a triumph for real democracy.