A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy


The information on this blog is not intended to be advice, legal or otherwise. You should not rely on it and I do not accept liability in connection with it. If you do have a planning law question on which you would like advice, seek legal advice from a suitably qualified solicitor. Specific advice should be sought for specific problems.

Picture postcard Britain

Where would you expect to see these cottages?

On a chocolate box perhaps, or on the wall in a tea-room?  I got my new passport back today. For a number of reasons I have not been looking forward to renewing my passport.  The first is that it has an electronic chip with information in it over which I have little control.  Happily, the last Government’s proposals to include fingerprints have been abandoned and from what I can glean from the Identity and Passport Service my picture is in there, with measurements of distances between my eyes, nose, ears and mouth (useful when I need new glasses I suppose) and the printed data in the passport.

So having overcome my loathing of giving government and officials easy access to personal information, I was quite pleased to receive my new shiny passport, until I opened it and found the chocolate box cottages on page 1, which is where they are.  Never mind I thought, there’s bound to be an image of the 30 St Mary Axe (aka the Gherkin) or Lloyds Building, or 1 London Wall, or Highpoint or something like that.  So I turned the pages and this is what I saw:

a weathermap, a reedbed, a geological formation, a coastal cliff, a fishing village, a beach, a canal, a village green, a formal park, woodland, a lake, a river, moorland, and a mountain.  Even the village green had a row of thatched cottages.

I think this is rather sad.  We project to ourselves and the world an image which does not exist any more, and which never really existed.  So it is not surprising that the current campaigns by the National Trust and CPRE catch the public mood.  Where will we celebrate current forward thinking new design to meet the needs of today, without prejudicing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs?

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