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News round up - 16 September

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Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government

Source: Radu Razvan

Planning

Mary Portas, who is advising David Cameron on the future of high streets, said she was considering writing to the prime minister to express her dissatisfaction that the consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework was closing before she completes her work, the Times reports. The TV shopping expert believes the presumption in favour of development goes against prioritising town centres for development.

However, communities secretary Eric Pickles said critics of the proposed planning reforms were ‘nimbys’, who backed a “system that allows planning silks to buy a Maserati or spend an extra week at their villa in Tuscany”, in comments reported by the Times.

And Christopher Hobson of architect firm JCCH writes to the Times claiming that “for local authorities to change of mindset of ‘against’ to ‘for’, especially when they have been charges with rewriting their own local plans (which could take up to four years), would be a quantum leap that those in public service have historically been unable to accomplish”.

Simon Marsh, the acting head of sustainable development at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, disowns the policy he helped devise with a piece in the Telegraph stating it is now balanced too much in favour of development. He complains that his original proposals were warped and changed by those in the government “who don’t place a high value on the environment”.

 

Housing

Roy Hattersley, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party – and former chair of Sheffield City Council’s housing committee – writes in the Times about the current council’s plans to give the famous Park Hill block of flats to developers Urban Splash as a ‘mixed use’ project that will see owners living alongside those paying affordable rents.

‘Squatters’ targeted the home of justice secretary Ken Clarke in protest to the government’s proposals to criminalise squatting and bring English and Welsh law into line with Scotland, the Guardian reports.

Basildon DC have been told to give Dale Farm travellers “a break” by former bare knuckle fighter and Celebrity Big Brother winner Paddy Doherty, who lives in a Manchester caravan park, says the Guardian.

 

Health

The Guardian, Telegraph and Mail all report on the Care Quality Commission’s annual report reporting, amongst other things, bed sores due to a lack of nurses and that half of hospitals and care homes providing nursing failed to meet standards of giving patients safe and effective treatment.

Meanwhile, the Independent predicts Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will face opposition to the government’s health reforms at his party’s conference next week with party members set to challenge the lack of a conference vote on the reforms.

 

Riots

Rioters were largely young, male, repeat offenders, according to Ministry of Justice scrutiny of defendants. Almost three-quarters had previous convictions, 52% were under 20 and 90% were male, the Guardian reports.

The FT and Independent focuses on the fact that magistrates handed down jail terms of about twice the normal length.

 

Other stories

  • Completeness of the electoral register could drop from 90% to 60% if the government removes the duty on citizens to cooperate with electoral registration officers, the Electoral Commission has warned. The Guardian quotes MPs who were “genuinely shocked” to realise the implications.
  • The Telegraph reports 49 per cent of mothers and fathers are in favour of corporal punishment to crack down on the worst offenders in schools, it was revealed.
  • Pakistan-born Baroness Flather writes in the Daily Mail stating some of her countrymen have as many children as possible by several wives so as to milk our welfare system.
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