How to (not) consult the public
I have on my desk a letter from the Council, addressed to “The Owner/Occupier” of my address. It tells me they have a planning application to erect four flats, at another address just across the road from me. So that’ll take over the general disturbance to the area when the last lot are finally done. I (and others who will be directly affected) can view the plans at the council’s offices, and have two weeks to comment. The letter is dated December 18th, so two weeks give us until January 1st.
This is the second time I’ve had a notice of this kind in Tavistock. And on both occasions, the two weeks consultation period have come in late december. This time I’m not going anywhere for christmas, so I have the option of going to their offices and (if anyone concerned with planning can be found) demanding to see the plans. OTOH if I want professional advice – for example from a lawyer or civil engineer – I’m going to be stuffed. Many others will be away (as I was last time), or working at full stretch to entertain family and friends.
I said last time this happened that I wouldn’t want to suggest any sinister motive, but if someone wanted to subvert the planning process, this is exactly how I’d expect them to go about it.
But, two out of two? If we just narrow the coincidence down to one week (actually it’s even closer), that gives us a probability of 1/(52*52), or less than 0.0004, of it being pure chance.