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Planning against the odds


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The Guardian
Mark Brown Arts correspondent
Fri 25 May 2018 11.53 BST

UK's council planners overworked, underpaid and abused, experts say

Kevin McCloud and Hay festival panel speak up for beleaguered town planners



Council planners are the most understaffed, underpaid, overworked, abused and depressed workers in Britain, which is a cause for concern because they are responsible for creating and determining the quality of environments we live in, according to a panel of experts at the Hay festival.

“The average chief planning officer earns the same salary as a Tesco bakery manager and has done for the past 15 years,” Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs, told an audience at the literary festival in Wales.

“The difference is that Tesco has a full complement of bakery managers, whereas across the country our planning departments roughly operate at 50% of what they should be doing, especially after the cuts ... they were a soft target.”

The session, titled Small is Beautiful ... Or is it Anymore, was one of a cluster of events that were part of the Hay on Earth Forum exploring food supply and energy production.

McCloud also said the UK would be a lot better off if there were a return to council house building on the scale of the 1950s, and that people should spend less time on their phones.

“What we should all be doing is putting down our laptops, getting off the social media; we should stop tweeting and we should all go and hug our neighbours,” he said.

Could have a point as witness the state of the city and its architecture and environment.

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