Planning & Environment

It was with some amusement that I read William Hill were giving odds that Jeremy Hunt (Culture Sec) would not save the 1980’s Broadgate complex in the City of London from demolition to make way for the new UBS headquarters despite a recommendation from English Heritage that the development be given statutory protection at Grade II level. And, indeed, it turns out that they were right.

A spokesman for William Hill said this was the first time it had offered odds in a listing case. “We believe this decision will be as difficult to call as a photo-finish but English Heritage needs to upset the odds to come out on top.”

Now, this is what I call PROGRESS!

I have been waiting for something like this since Braehead!

I think I could have made good money on that decision had the bookies offered odds, and had I been a gambling person (which, of course, I am not; despite more lessons than any girl should have had from her maternal grandmother).

Yes, let’s get the bookies involved in the Scottish planning system. Let’s check out whether it really is true, as some allege, that the planning system is a bit of a lottery depending on subject matter and location. Let the backers and the cynics put their money where their mouths are. Let’s find out if there is money to be made through the appliance of betting logic. For “form” read – material planning considerations permed with objections, up and coming local elections, and earlier results at a local and national level. But it is of course for the punter to weigh up these factors and to bet on where the balance lies.

Let’s not forget the jockey? Should planning consultants/lawyers be made to wear racing colours? If so, I am laying down a marker now that I will not be seen in horizontal stripes or in anything shiny. Should punters (and clients) be able to read their racing form? If so ,where? Maybe in the Punter? (if you don’t read the Daily Record, you won’t get that, but if things come to pass, you might want to revise your daily reading list).

Will the occasional outsider (e.g. wind farm in P & K) romp home, only to confound the pundits and delight the risk takers at the cost of the bookies? HURRAH!

Can a canny advisor bet against his own horse? Or would that offend racing etiquette? A new line of scandal perhaps? Better by the minute… Be aware, Dick Francis, your crown is for the taking!

Could DPEA line up a series of controversial appeal decisions to be beamed live from Hamilton Race Course, with Paddy Power et al offering odds at the track side? Is there room for a ladies’ day in this? I have a great hat, worn once only to a wedding, that could do with an outing.

Jackie McGuire