DO YOU read the public notices in the paper? You know, the ones which are placed by the county council and the borough council to inform us, usually, of road closures or parking restrictions (in the case of the county council) or planning applications (by the borough council).
A press release last week announced a consultation on the Department for Transport’s proposals that in future there will be no need for these to be advertised in local newspapers; instead local authorities will have the freedom to publicise changes to those likely to be affected in ways that they think will reach them best.
Councils will still have to publicise their proposals but could choose different means such as advertising on local websites, displaying notices in the area, or distributing leaflets on affected roads. They may, if they wish, continue to use local newspapers if they think that is the best way to target those affected.
This is, apparently, part of the government’s drive to get rid of unnecessary regulation.
If this were to be implemented, I think there should be quite a few reservations.
For a start not everyone has access to the internet; websites are not always up to date; who decides where notices are going to be placed; and in many cases people have no wish to receive anything through their letterboxes other than letters.
This could lead to many proposals going through ‘on the nod’ as many would not have the information they need to object to proposals, if they felt so inclined.
It could be a way of councils getting controversial plans through because many people affected – not necessarily those in the vicinity – would have no knowledge of the proposals until it was too late.
If borough councils did not have the need to advertise planning applications just think of what might be foisted on us by the local planning committee without our knowledge.
Apparently, new rules have also been announced which means that councils will no longer need Whitehall approval to introduce certain traffic signs. There are also to be even more signs added to the Traffic Signs Regulations so that councils can use them without gaining specific approval.
This will reduce bureaucracy for local councils and give them ‘greater flexibility’.
I can see the Road Safety Partnership having a party on the Boston-Skegness road – there’ll be even more signs!