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Sunday, 17 December 2017

The need for less planning and debating and more actions and results

The council recently published the final draft of the Bath Destination Plan. It contains the following paragraph.

"Bath and North East Somerset has built an enviable reputation for presenting major high profile events over the last 4 years, with a vision to be internationally renowned as a “beautifully inventive” entrepreneurial 21st century place with a strong social purpose and a spirit of well-being, where everyone is invited to think big – a ‘connected’ area ready to create an extraordinary legacy future generations"

This is a classic example of the sort of grandiose and almost meaningless goals which can be found in too many strategies produced by public agencies in Bath and being proposed by political parties and pressure groups.

It also contains numerous examples of the other kind of objective which is found all too frequently in Bath strategies, vision statements and plans. These are objectives for which there is no funding or resourcing and no realistic prospect of any funding or resourcing. Until recently the classic example of this was to be found in the air quality management plan.

We also have plans that will not survive the next round of elections because they are long-term in their nature but have no real cross-party by in the classic example being transport strategies, parking strategies and public realm management plans.

If we add to this the numerous forums, steering groups and scrutiny panels which produce  reports and analyses which will make little or no difference to the way in which plans are implemented in a world of shrinking government finance and will probably merely serve the political point scoring competitions which seem to be the preoccupation of many of our political representatives.

What all the above have in common is that they absorb huge amounts of officer time. This is officer time which could be spent addressing issues and practical problems raised on a daily basis by concerned residents or enforcing some of the existing rules and regulations or even trying to implement some of the old plans.

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