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Tidying up the Car Park

March 19, 2012

Back in December I had a right good rant – copied to the County Council – in response to news that a small local car park was being sold off by said council.

The gist of my grumble was that the land seemed to be being treated as an asset, and not a facility, with the result that this transaction first came to light as a news story [possibly promoted by the auctioneer] and not as a consultation. More generally I argued that this was part of a one way process which treated land ‘functionally’ and took more and more of it out of the democratic control of local people.

In fact, the democratic process had already done its bit… alerted via Twitter I went back to the Parish Council website and found a refreshed page notifying the cancellation of the sale. It seems that both the Borough and Parish Councils had submitted strong objections, sufficient to sway the County Council’s decision.

So on this occasion, contingently or otherwise, local democracy functioned well enough by focussing more local levels of interest. So I thought I should tidy up that story with this quick post.

Overall my concern remains though. Who actually owns local authority land? Who says? And when it comes to the crunch – who says what happens to it?

[Afterthought – some of these thoughts are relevant to today’s news that more consideration will be given to private provision of new roads, and to the transfer of ownership of roads (and therefore long ribbons of land?) away from the Highways Agency.]

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