‘The Planners’ BBC2, Entertaining but Troubling

‘The Planners’ is the new eight week BBC2 series that is running through February and March on a Thursday evening. If the first episode was anything to go by, the following episodes will be entertaining and amusing. The show features a small selection of planning situations, taking the planners’ perspective, it shows how decisions are made and how the impact of the process effects home owners, applicants and affected parties.

It really is good television. It features people in the committee who are classed as small-town figures, that some people on twitter have described as, a kind of ‘Little Britain’ parody of people who hold those positions, and said their age profile was probably a little different to many other planning committees.
The planners came across really well, generally qualified, reasonable people. Although struggling to find a balance between competing arguments and maybe slightly up in the air over planning reform. But over all they came across pretty well.
The applicants and objectors, as you can imagine, came across at times unhinged and emotional.

We then came across the committee, who most of twitter agreed, were the highlight of the show. For instance, Barbara, a terrifying senior member of the committee who seemed, despite her stickler-for-the-rules mentality, did seem to take her role far too seriously.
Through out the show, we were treated to various scenes of the bus-full of the planning committee members heading out on site visits which, if im honest, did just seem like a pensioners day out to Margate. It was full of inane comments and homespun, and may i add, incorrect planning ‘wisdom’. Ultimately these 15 local, small town figures, were to decide on the key decisions and cast their vote in such a nature that i wondered if they had even considered, in the cold light of day, the application against relevant planning law, which they absolutely should, and not just on some personal whim!

These people, in my opinion, were not experts in building, architecture or worse of all, planning. And yet as ‘The Planners’ shows, these people hold the key to unlocking our house building future. In my opinion we need a radical overhaul of the planning system in place at the moment. We need to put our planning future in the hands of true experts. Not a bus full of pensioners, on a nice day out.
I am intrigued to see what unfolds in the upcoming episodes.

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