Political Planning 54

The Daily Telegraph yesterday published satellite images of Dale Farm from 1999 to 2011. These clearly show that, contrary to propaganda spewed on all media, the site has neither expanded nor used up any green fields. You find them at 14.15 on that long Daily Telegraph blog post.

I am fascinated by the campaign to use respect for planning law as the justification for racist bile. Planning law is a very political area indeed. The government is seeking actively to relax the protection of green belt land- we are going to see homes built on actual green fields, not on the wasteland Dale Farm plainly was in those Telegraph images. Of course, they will be for middle class people – I shall be fascinated to see how many people posting here so keen to see families evicted from Dale Farm, are going to be out protesting as real green fields get concreted over.

Like most people, I have encountered planning regulations several times in my life. The first time was in Gravesend. I used to live at No 3 Portland Road. The owners of No 5 Portland Road built a two storey extension, in order to convert it into flats. This brought building right on to the boundary line and substantially diminished my sunlight and amenity in a number of ways. It was also very ramshackle and ill-looking construction. I was away serving abroad while it was built. On return I contacted the Council planning department, and discovered that it had been done entirely without planning permission, as indeed had the conversion into flats in a zone excluded from multi-occupancy. But Gravesham Council did absolutely nothing. (NB the owners of 5 Portland Road have since changed and the current owners were in no way responsible).

I was further unlucky in Gravesend because my house, No. 3, was semi-detached with No. 1. That was bought by The Kenward Trust, for use as a hostel for recovering drug addicts on release from prison. That seemed to me not a good use for a semi-detached property adjoining a young family, and we tried to fight it. However it turned out that under “Care in the community”, a hostel for 5 people or less did not need planning permission, as the use was considered still that of an ordinary family home.

Before coming to 1 Portland Road the inmates, on release from jail, spent time in Kenward House, a Kent mansion. The Kenward Trust is an evangelical christian organisation, and the anti-addiction programme consisted of christian indoctrination and happy clappy songs. Most of the inmates had criminal records in addition to addiction, and not always was the crime related. While we were trying to fight their taking over the other half of our semi, one of their inmates from Kenward House raped a passer-by there.

Inmates succesfully “treated” would come on to 1 Portland Road, as kind of halfway house. There they would get food, a tiny living allowance and a weekly visit from a warder – which involved more happy-clappy christianity. While I still maintain this was a crazy and reckless thing to put in a semi with a family home, I got to know some inmates over the years and some were nice enough. They were all entirely cynical about the happy clappy stuff.

They were also very aware of the massive amounts of government money the Kenward Trust was receiving for each inmate – ten times the cost of housing, feeding and their allowance. Very occasionally directors of the Kenward Trust would turn up in huge BMWs. Their salaries, expenses, vehicles and free accommodation were amazing. Damn clever, these Christians. Anne Widdecombe was their patron.

Ada and Mabel in Blackburn had a similar experience to mine over unauthorised building extensions by neighbours. I am sorry to say that both in Blackburn and Gravesend the real reason the council did nothing was because the illegal building was done by members of ethnic communities whose electoral support New Labour – which ran both councils at the relevant time -was eager to buy locally. Just as at Dale Farm the planning enforcement is against an ethnic community which the council feel it will be electorally popular to persecute.

Planning law and its enforcement is a deeply political matter. Care in the community, going easy or hard on specific ethnic minorities, these are purely political decisions. The idea that Dale Farm is an impartial piece of administration aimed at upholding the rule of law, is such balderdash is it scarcely worth addressing.

This is politically decided ethnic cleansing.

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54 thoughts on “Political Planning

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  • mary

    Thanks Vronsky for ‘When Yellow’s on the Broom’ which was lovely. The photographs gave a good illustration of how hard a life it must have been for those on the road in a hard climate, especially for the women keeping the children fed and clothed. The travellers certainly have a tradition of affinity for their horses.

  • mary

    The worst and most odious specimen of deviousness in this administration. Cannot call it ‘government’.
    September 2011 Last updated at 16:27
    Michael Gove under pressure over use of private emails
    The Education Secretary has been urged to make statement on the issue
    The government has denied that Michael Gove, and his closest advisers, attempted to hide sensitive information by using private emails to conduct Department for Education business.
    The information commissioner is looking into the way the DfE handles freedom of information requests.
    A story in the Financial Times claimed information was being kept away from the DfE civil servants and the public.
    The DfE is now investigating whether emails were leaked to the press.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Craig wrote “The government is seeking actively to relax the protection of green belt land- we are going to see homes built on actual green fields, not on the wasteland Dale Farm plainly was in those Telegraph images. Of course, they will be for middle class people – I shall be fascinated to see how many people posting here so keen to see families evicted from Dale Farm, are going to be out protesting as real green fields get concreted over.”

    Too right. Most councils fall over themselves to offer planning permission in greenbelt as soon as a big company comes along (likely with some backhanders for councillors).

    I know some travellers can be rude or thieves, but then so can some non-travellers. I don’t think extended families that have been living beside each other for decades should be split up. If they have to move it should be to another similar site with planning permission.

    I believe the Dale farm site is a former scrap yard in a greenbelt area? South Lanarkshire Council approved a wimpey estate on a former scrap yard (grown over with trees and grass) next to my house a few years ago – in greenbelt – and allowed them to build far more houses than they’d had planning permission for.

    My mum was at some of the planning committee meetings and one of the councillors told her that the only question was whether Wimpey could make money building these houses or not and nothing else was relevant. She disabused him of this ignorant notion, but it went ahead anyway with permission to pack in too many houses – and then even more than were given planning permission for built.

    Not entirely complaining now as some of my friends moved into one of them, but there shouldn’t have been as many.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    p.s SLC said a former scrapyard in greenbelt was ‘a brownfield site’ even with 30 and 40 year old trees on it.

    After tearing down every tree (ostensibly to ensure no toxic contamination, but probably at least as much or more to ensure they could pack in the maximum number of houses and so maximise their profit) Wimpey called the housing scheme ‘The Oaks’. It has a couple of saplings they planted on a small lawn towards the front of it.

  • anno

    ‘Eating people is wrong.wrong.wrong. wrong’
    ‘Look son, have you been talking to one of your mothers again?
    ‘People have always eaten people. If people didn’t eat people,
    there wouldn’t be anything left to eat.’
    Flanders and Swann

  • John Goss

    Mary I agree that Vronsky’s links are both lovely and appropriate to recent threads including this one. Folk clubs, especially those that cater for traditional music are a great melting-pot of culture and thankfully there is a huge seam of travelling songs from all over the world. If only governments and councils could likewise cater for everyone’s needs.

  • Rob Royston

    Planning decisions, or rather the lack of them, are a cause of great unhappiness across the UK.
    Housing estates are built, some well spaced and some packed together, but at least they are mostly built with a pleasiing finish that encourages people to buy and move in.
    Within a short space of time, planning permission will be granted for extensions, walls, porches etc. that result in the pleasant estate being turned into a shanty-town. Some people, like Craigs’s ex-neighbour, are allowed to build from a semi-detached onto the other boundary. If everyone did this, a street of semi-detached houses becomes terraced houses.
    Some councils used to have rules that fences could not be higher than 4ft until 20 mtrs from the road. This encouraged neighbourliness, but most have now changed this rule and people can put 7ft fences right up to their neighbour’s house.
    Should there be national laws laid down to control this blight by idiotic, or corrupt, local councillors?

  • Paul Johnston

    I have no problems with my English thank you.
    However perhaps what you meant to say was:
    “That seemed to me not a good use for a semi-detached property adjoining my young family, and we tried to fight it.”
    You rail against people saying they don’t want “travellers” living near them but object to ex-criminals living near you.
    I believe the term used is NIMBY.

  • larry Levin

    “Christian indoctrination” do you mean planting bible truth in the sinners hearts ? Yep Christianity must be so bad, Christianity destroys every country that it gains a foothold in,

  • John Goss

    I should like to have heard a few bars of Ambassador Craig Murray’s reel but the link brought up the following:

    “Dear Pandora Visitor,

    We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

    We believe that you are in United Kingdom (your IP address appears to be If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at [email protected]

    If you are a paid subscriber, please contact us at [email protected] and we will issue a pro-rated refund to the credit card you used to sign up. If you have been using Pandora, we will keep a record of your existing stations and bookmarked artists and songs, so that when we are able to launch in your country, they will be waiting for you.

    We will be notifying listeners as licensing agreements are established in individual countries. If you would like to be notified by email when Pandora is available in your country, please enter your email address below. The pace of global licensing is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service everywhere.

    We share your disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding.


    Tim Westergen

    Tim Westergren

    P.S. For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions on the topic.”

  • Jay

    The Dale Farm people have their official residences in Irish Republic. They may well be claiming Irish Dole. The rules for claim are none too strict and the payments very generous. They only have to sign on once a month. The standard payment is €198 per week. Payments can be increased if the unemployed has dependants. For each adult dependent, another €124.80 is added; and for each child dependent, another €29.80 is added.
    Now, they will be recieving a whole host of UK social benefits, eg NHS, education etc without having paid a penny.

  • John Goss

    Craig, I wanted to listen to a few bars from Ambassador Craig Murray’s Reel but the link brought up an apology that the service was not available to anyone outside the US. Don’t know whether you knew or not!

  • anno

    It’s payback time for all the nations in the world the English have oppressed. Why would you exclude nearby victims, or as Craig euphemistically calls them, minorities, and not far ones.
    They are minorities in the sense that the minority of crafty ones from those oppressed countries reckon they can come to the UK and screw us for a few quid. Guilty consciences are ready to buy any old blarney. I have given thousands of pounds to supposedly penniless immigrants whose families were bulldozed into mass graves and whose sisters need bullets removing from their legs.
    You should see the mansions they live in back home paid for by the British taxpayer. Lying through the teeth has not been a
    traditional part of English culture, but watch your backs in the immigrant communities, because some of them make no distinction between governments from history, and the soft hearts of gullible non-racist UK residents. It is hard to admit that you’ve been conned when you are not racist, and then they turn round and call you a racist for reporting the truth.

  • anno

    (non-existent families and non-existent sisters) Do they a blarney stone in Kurdistan and Bosnia for the kissing thereof?

  • angrysoba

    I’m listening to Obama at the UN (on BBC – oops, for Mary that is “ZBC”). Did he just say Roosevelt gave a speech during the early days of the UN??? Er…no he was dead.

  • Jay

    “They are minorities in the sense that the minority of crafty ones from those oppressed countries reckon they can come to the UK and screw us for a few quid.”
    Indeed, they are not an oppressed minority living outside the system but experts at manipulating it.

  • lwtc247

    “Damn clever, these Christians” – Couldn’t you have said “Damn clever, those people” instead? – or words to that effect??

  • craig Post author


    The organisation I am criticising is, on the surface, a fundamentalist christian organisation.. Why should I hide that? Of course there are a great many very good christians indeed.

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