In a new contribution to our occasional series of anonymous articles from people in the property world, our latest contributor expresses exasperation at elected members of Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee who, they suggest, could speed up the decision-making process.

Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee meeting on August 6 was an unbelievable waste of everyone’s time, although councillors clearly enjoyed having a platform to partake of their favourite occupation – listening to the sound of their own voices.

The majority of the matters under discussion were passed unanimously and completely unopposed, yet councillors still felt the need to spout interminably, just to say that they are ‘pleased to support blah blah blah’ – utterly pointless and unnecessary.

A decision was deferred on one application because lead councillor for environmental services and community safety, Cllr Karen Rowland, needed to ‘understand’ a fact that she had already referred to.

So the councillor already knew the answer so there could have been nothing left to understand. Had this been raised weeks ago when the application was first made public and would have allowed a decision to be made at the meeting.

As it was, subjecting the application to a deferral has the impact of leaving a retail unit in the town centre empty for a longer period than necessary.  The application was recommended for approval by officers and was not contrary to policy.

Such pointless and inefficient procrastinating is wasteful of council resources and unnecessarily ties up planning officers’ time. The town centre is littered with examples of planning delays being the reason for sites sitting empty, which is disgraceful and harmful to the town.

The meeting chair Cllr Jo Lovelock should have shown leadership by injecting some impetus into the proceedings and should not allow such ineffective, inefficient and uncommercial, time-wasting behaviour.

Contributions – and responses – to this column are welcome. Please email: in the first instance. Opinions are those of individual contributors.

Image: Richard Kelly, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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