With reference to your article regarding planning and parish councils upset about not being included in decisions to the extent they wish to be, I do not include every parish council or councillor in my observations as I have worked with some outstanding people sitting on local PCs who do some sterling work...
But a district council officer has to look at the legalities, need and so on of any planning applications in a non-biased and professional way and apply decisions based on fact.
Parish councils very often base decisions on who knows who, when voting do not declare a personal interest and in fact some parish councillors use their position to demonstrate bias and displeasure. This animosity is then disseminated to other councillors (friends) on the council and used as a tool for abuse of power.
We have suffered for several years this kind of treatment.
I for one would not like to see more power given to parish councils, as a non-biased decision for whatever reason cannot be achieved due to the very nature of the beast. All planning decisions should be made by professionals who apply the laws of the land and not dealt with by a group of locals with their own agendas.
Fortunately we are seeing a gradual change of the old guard on our parish council.