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NONDESECRATION

 

One simple single sight can and more often than not does give sufficient confidence of image to perceive and discern significant qualities of environment 0r damage of essential integral character enabling appreciation of or otherwise to influential landscape and architecture. Our environments are tangible, of factual practicality in qualities we need to secure and enhance to the enjoyment and wit of all, not something we should encourage people to avoid responsibility for in grabbing short term resources, much as being ill with consumption. Rather with being consistent to full enjoyment of integrities and conservation, an inspiration of latent resource opportunity, of appreciation, of belonging to all and future generations being timeless. Our invested development in all respects complementing practicable prospects for future conservation, of our public image of self-worth, of belonging, of family and locale, of where we are, are coming from, our foundations of heritage and environment.

Individuals and communities are fully able to discern the appropriateness of investment opportunities for environment responsibility to conserve unique integral resources of character and of scale ensuring full definition of environments for generations to come. We need to make politicans specifically accountable in factual terms, particularly in terms of extent and scale, rather than a specific class of bureaucratised behaviour. So much of what we are literally, politically, philosophically sold is riddled with dishonest discredited deceit of continuous vacuous expediency neither realistic nor appreciative nor ever intended to be other than mere obtuse politics, not even of electoral convenience. Our environments hold truth for us.
Conservationists for whom we are all undoubtedly obliged have
a definitive ethos and wit of caring and sharing of values to support articulate public debate of demands for sustainable resources irreplaceable in character, where else no other real understanding, personal commitment nor even options may prevail. Living for something better is not necessarily life enhancing. We need to safeguard and secure environments. Our heritage is now our active cutting edge.
 
Qualitative new thinking avoids simplistic notions such as those of the infamous Jenner House debacle for prior demolitions, blanks on top of blanks etc., leading us nowhere other than to massive 'blots on the landscape' to issues of appallingly demeaning sterile character. Instead to appreciate evidence of fine qualities of place and character. All that remains of our good intentions is of sustained knowledge and material character. Integral qualities do not emerge out of a myriad of marginal demands but of presumed insights and resolutely held opinions into established environmental resources. Even simple recycling of buildings elements supports confidence to consistently unequivocally hold, improve and advance the equilibrium of environments. In effect to support shared insights and values widely held throughout community and society yet frequently
subjected to determined
attempts at dismemberment.
 
Heritage of environment consistently appreciates before us in value the more so as we struggle to invest sustainable resources in face of wantonly destructive speculative politics. Yet democracy should work best on this larger scale, if not always for the individual. Even 'buggin's turn' of village life commends itself mightily with parishioners expressing good manners and earning tacit approval in avoiding wholesale change, shoehorning in 'their' piece of development over time. Conservation is about conserving environmental substance, character and craftsmanship made wider, not any type of mass reproduction, nor simply of opinion but that of collective individual observation. Character needs to be clearly understood and defined which individual responsibilities are best able to achieve and promote, not simple categorisation. Real issues abound of utterly crude defacement and absurd environs disfigurement ranging from ruining classically fashioned pillars to whole suburbs and towns, paraded before our eyes as judicious decision making, not prioritised as examples of abrupt ignorance and ugliness. Such destruction is wanton willful violence no less.

Buildings and landscapes can and should prove capable of uplifting our spirits, our confidence of upholding our pride of belonging of being a part of such places, environments and communities not of having to despair of wholesale labelling and changes being wrought from them. If we recognise or in any way hold ourselves responsible to and for our environments we should be determined to look after and invest these. If we are not allowed to defend these we should in no way be convinced to do so. They are as near our appreciation of any and our own integrities as we are ever likely to get. Attempts to provide in situ environments simply prove patently absurd leading us nowhere other than to discern sounder environmental ethics.
 
Critical definitive public opinion is of course of greater discernment than either politics or policies not least in avoiding wholesale simplistic manipulative notions and solutions wholly insufficient to compensate for losing real landscape and settlement resource character of irreplaceable integrities not adulterated irrelevance.

Qualitative integrity of many specialist commercial, retail and other enterprises can 'quite visibly' be perceived to be diminished of outward character where 'closed in' by associations with mass property development that simply consumes and demolishes the reputations of surrounding buildings and environments marking no real integrity nor flair for environment rather restrictive control. Such reduces proportion to pollution stigmatising previous environmental significance. Rather a spreading plurality of distinguished spatial character should represent a requisite diversity for our settlements. It is indeed surprising the number of uses that a sustained heritage environment can encompass whereas 'concrete monoculture' with its surrounding demands has ruined countless future potentials.

Centres involve concentration of uses and demands requiring more real openly competitive environments such as street markets and leisure culture to effectively consume our time and interest. We require wide environmental associations and dimensions if we are to spend intellectual time and recreation. Nobody necessarily wishes to stay in one place all the time, not least where reflecting impoverished environments. The issue of our spending time is significant to perceptions of environments. But for particular fortuitous divergence in some property ownership managements we should have acceded to the present time in sustaining the process of totally removing the last vestiges of our centres' heritage and indeed character. The systematic demolition of our history has left us with anonymities for which we bear no liking, sentiment or loyalties whatever. Sufficient can be said even of significant integrities for individual rooms to more accurately sustain our interest in heritage of buildings through projecting significant variety in spatial layouts and decor not least in supporting specialist shops and residences reflecting traditional demands of local areas.

Town or village centres require not just 'essentials' shops such as greengrocers, bakers, butchers, fishmongers and the like - none of which they may have - but for such to display particularly high qualities for goods to ensure sustained attraction and support active customers. Fashion of multiples goods is only of temporary validity yet some have fitted well into older buildings whilst creating attractive 'windows', some worth our time, of wider consideration.
The market has to offer consistency in something special and 'fresh' in the way of goods and services for it to be well informed to sustain and identity active customers, to be of a community well served or the town will go outside. Frequently this is of food and all its derivatives towards visitor attraction but also to be complemented in its pride of buildings and landscapes. Our history of town centre buildings could have been meaningfully used to sustain overlapping integral qualities of environment. Utilisation of the value of individually crafted, finely proportioned wooden shop fronts can be shown to have helped bind some High Streets, even to recover some, wherein unique offerings can be viewed devoid of derogatory 'over-conceited plasticisation'. Quality as everything for everybody to consider and enjoy in critical leisure.

Not to have to live to perceived political diktats. As they grew High Streets were accorded capital letters, history and fine architecture, all inter knit, now for the most part demolished. We are given little choice but to live our lives to fragile economics and overambitious politicisation embedded in some form of public expenditure of one excuse or other. Is it any wonder we always seek the opportunity in environmental terms to break free of imprecise regulations. The High Street has become solely the political sink of ineptitude. Councils remain the only and perfect excuse to consider development in the name of conservation in that they would never consider making the same mistakes of the past. Really? In what way?

Evolving commercial expertise and appreciation can cause buildings to reflect insufficient opportunities, conservation then being needed through artistic and historical merit to keep centres alive and relevant to communities, this supported against expanded political ambitions to subsidise commercial pressures. High Streets have probably always been pretty 'ropey' in context of concentrated values and rental demands and retailing desire to look cost-effective. It is in a sense important to keep whatever qualities of buildings they do have. 'Bankers' baronial' is some way off this direction but in avoidance of faceless streamlining, defacing and demolitions of elevations of listed buildings it is necessary to appreciate such as avoiding demeaning and cheapening everyone to the utmost degree. It is not difficult to appreciate that over concentration of the High Street has offered political power too much opportunity unconstrained by more articulate local opinion defending the influence of character of open heritage landscape to spread investment into the wider urban environment. That the character of (re)development is appropriately articulate in reasonably defined terms to the local environment and its reputation should be left to articulate public debate, not labelled opinion. We should choose to creatively invest in the taste of public opinion not excessive politics that has wreaked the monopoly of comprehensive redevelopment and ruined the requisite integrity of unity of substantial environments.

Such also helps convey the prospect that biographical histories are possibly of equal significance to architectural forms. Our centres owe much to our  assembly of all cultural wealth as of art, histories, design and buildings and not least in the way ecology and mature landscape intermingle as of domed architectural forms of horse chestnuts exploding confined open spaces relating to prominent domed buildings a mile away. Comprehensive development scales are too often encouraged to destroy the pluralities of centres mitigating their cultural context. Indeed it is surprising how sustained heritage centres of character are able to spread and accommodate the large number of uses required.

Town centres or parts of such are not localised but need hospitality to attract outside visitors. Access is not something that should be emphatically penalised but instead only materially restricted. In truth not all visitors can be directly accessed at all locations. Authoritarian mixing of concentrated development and restrictive parking controls can be grossly confused and unhelpful as is anything other than open free unambiguous visitor parking at relevant locations and times. Is that not historically what the attraction of open access to markets has meant?

Some modern superstores sell fresh vegetables, specifically excluding frozen food and the food reputation of one high quality urban store food department was built largely on the hygienic quality of fresh chickens and veg some decades ago! Such relates well to convenient
residential pedestrian access and the use of a more discerning leisured approach to qualities of comparison goods. If a modest standing charge of the highest common coin for three hours non business parking with free short term parking and modest fines were to prevail even motorists might be able to walk and talk more. Some centre food stores might even lead the trend by running fresh organic veg at keen prices.

Surely we can more subtly afford, spread and encourage real
significance of investment opportunities exhibiting open synergies. Open modern design of itself should not necessarily seek to dominate heritage surrounds lest it become apparent as obsolescent being overbearing and lacking of the intrinsic scale of virtue, of nothing worthy to be successfully retained nor even of memory. Such issues in scale need to relate in absolute integrity.

The larger the development, particularly of down market mass commercial character and themes such as thinly veiled shopping centre veneers, the better the case for moving it outside centres to ensure that it provides a real environment lest it be as so often the case a quite logical attempt to parasite character. Such
does not remotely match the corresponding evident loss of opportunities, unities and synergies, such being compounded to mere wilful convenience. There is no excuse in portraying lost residual opportunities by providing what are essentially ancillary benefits. If this argument could be used in other fields it would surely prove scandalous as it so often does in here. There is now open acknowledgement of a shared sense of environmental responsibility based on practical evidential experience. Also an undeniable appreciation of a sense of almost tactile 'warmth' within many restored built environments and landscapes. They are informative to a wider interested sense of innate perception of confidence of sharing opportunities of space and time, the luxury of five dimensions. Are we otherwise to be confronted by crude, fashioned propaganda.

Advance zonings of multipliers demolish environmental character and play a part in obsessive political theatre to precondition perceptions of real environments, intent to render us incapable of concern that our heritage should not better be invested in broader more realistic proactive community support and responsibilities. No development can be divorced from reality on the ground. Attempting to instigate change from any form of platform that ignores existing factors attempts to instigate change that is not only inefficient but largely irrelevant and totally over costed. Qualities and character are evident guardians of sustainability. All of us should feel galvanized as a matter of course to face the crass and grossly inadequate insensitive political handling and safeguarding of irreplaceable environmental resources particularly of larger scale and repute. Critical public concern and debate though has few peers without our ever having to absorb 'fuddy-duddy' deceitful tendencies bereft of open initiative and expertise. We should have the courage to stand up and be counted on to speak for ourselves.

Landscape and settlement character fast disappears before us for no particular reason other than of a visual blight of multipliers dynamically foreshortening environments. Such we are supposed to find of inescapable logic and merit. But the integrity of some spaces throughout is of such consideration as to be profoundly obvious whilst others are equally vital to our sense of concern. It may not initially seem unreasonable to exploit existing open spaces and infrastructures but if other settlements do likewise on any significant scale there may be no more effective definitive character shaping our landscape to leave to our descendants, not even the faintest perceptions of these. It may seem the very best we can hope for in the absence of practical realism is that future generations do not have to know the difference. But our environments as heritage belong to no one other than ourselves and our commitments.

Incremental open spaces proffer very significant opportunities for integrities as also for negatives to the point where we can easily appreciate its relevance and real substance for our countryside and settlements. Our assumption of easy environmental engineering is in practice the reverse, quite perverse akin to that hoary old ignoramus of 'space afforded through a bird's eye view' so peculiarly irrelevant as for the claim to be truly facile not least in that increasingly we can neither see, hear or breathe anything except through  some form of pollution. Birds' eye views are all very well but impervious to safeguarding or providing anything of integrity serving only to exclude us all.

Environments as ourselves are not dissipated, depersonalised opinion. Dubious relevance of opinion is not a prerequisite to establishing new influential integrities of any kind. The integrity of public opinion is not to be compromised. Active public stewardship is all we have to rely on to point direction to detailed susceptible integrities and changes. Environments are long resources ever needing sufficient defending of determined intelligence and wit to be successfully sustained. Too often politicians have no other role concerning integrity than to play God with environments. Such speculations are of the nature of abuse of society and community whose time they are wasting. We need instead to invest unequivocally unadulterated environmental integrities. Environmental change needs indisputable ethics devoid of contradiction especially those of party politics.

Character as a representative theme thrives in being defined neither labelled nor categorised. We perceive environments very much in terms of inclusive character for which accurate knowledge of historic and biographical resources, enterprises and environments is a prerequisite, a 'bedrock' for our supportive, even emotive understanding. Informed public appreciation provides for just such critical discernment where else none otherwise is realistically available elsewhere to a comparable degree. Our environmental heritage is not something simply to be talked but of really precise practical integrities we all come to know and love. You may choose either to fully support such real influential integrities or not.

 
Character as an association to be defended not dissipated in perceiving and defining environments; integrity of character for whole settlements can at times be viewed as a 'pastiche' from the original to become inexplicably lob-sided in relevance. Retention of original balance of the subtle defining character of scale of open spaces is a priority we should be needful to maintain. An environment of town or countryside together has a capacity of a quality of reflection and understanding not superimposed in any way. There is surely a case for considering the qualities of most settlements in terms of their relationship to subtle integral landscapes, often in association with open squares and building materials, themes and elements of design
evident in surrounding areas.

Attempts to supplant, replace or in its most infamous term 'complement' environmental and architectural significance often involve the demolition, defacement or gutting of listed buildings to consume the attractiveness of site and historic prominence, underlining profound provocative waste and ignorance more often creating ridiculous pastiche of character promoting adverse change through to our appreciation of the integrity of whole areas and settlements. In effect relative obsolescence being produced and built in by over-edged investment resulting not only in aggregated concreted pollution  of notoriously short investment viability and commercial fashion but affecting the balance of always tenuous support for High Streets where the prestige and collective image of street scene provide a profound resonance for everybody. That range of shops requiring only modest 'fittings' for more reflective informed shopping is extending towards the point of greater selections for food offerings and markets linked to the character of locality.

Trying to shape demand through official spatial monopoly is finished if indeed it ever truly began in terms of sustainable investment purposes. Only the greater choice of sensitive provision remains. This in recognition that balance has always been an aggravated issue for those individual and collective opinions wishing to achieve and support evident environments. Exclusive land use zonings themselves are restrictive covenants where except for residential uses there may be no evident demand value. It has become a startling feature that adjoining owners even of listed buildings can object effectively to infill or redevelopment and subsequently make purchases of these that they know will be redeemed through development within a relatively short period of time. There is no factor of accountability such as precise definition of resource or demand is denied inexpert authority responsibility. Settlements must attract outside demand to maintain significant facilities and unequivocal hospitality needs be extended to pedestrian and motor car in equal measure without insisting on menial restrictions negating the flexibility and convenience all of us wish to achieve. Shopping experience can otherwise be wholly unsatisfactory in the use of time and freedom for so many individuals and families. Free standing superstores have allowed us to throw off the yoke of wholesale control as the way of life previously afforded us.

At an individual scale our parochial interest can be overbalanced by our personal vested interest denying freedom to other individuals' changes, even inappropriate attempts at property encroachments and seeking to arbitrate offers that are not ours to own. The issue of vested interest objections in holding down low purchase bids is rampant, as is that of restrictive planning covenants. All leading to developer inserted presumably 'innocent' profiteering, often supported by direct personal political lobbying. Promoting the concept that only 'new' development and developer thinking can be objective is literally an offensive position for land and property owners. Many of us indeed have to wait until we see development nearby before gaining sufficient 'confidence', nay collective security, to proceed on our own. Such is no way to secure any form of integrity merely to provide inadequacy. We should celebrate real investment in terms of a real cultural environment. We need to enhance and landscape our own property environs within our own boundaries as our major cause of concern and similarly not seek to deny other people their on-going improvements and investment identification without considerable cause. We have little or no confidence in what is seen as an inequitable system to individual interests, one full of arbitrary autocratic classifications utterly bereft of the practice of precise, realistic and above all reasonable definitions. Museum pieces need to be paid for.

Neither should we seek to absolve ourselves of responsibilities through over provision of opinions frequently short of real experience, knowledge, practical reality and ability. Politics and policies should not prevail over ensuring that people have real practicality before being permitted to make any kind of responsible environmental decisions. Such is no substitute for discerning, flexible experience and a savvy approach if we wish to remain a 'can do' and not a 'can't do' society. Surely one major reason why new entrants to our society are always so comparatively successful in property development is that they do not see fit, nor to waste time, to attempt under one ill-defined guise or another to secure vested personal interest through objections. Such do amount to encroachment over other persons' private property. Ownership not politics should remain nine tenths of the law. Long may such invigorate our sense of personal honesty and relevance that needs to be shaken up.

Public bodies do not create or provide creative built integrities. There is no 'good' exercised through a local monopoly. Most comprehensive town centre redevelopments quickly become obsolescent in that they are monopolies built around a core element of public ownership allowing councils to play at demands. This has been far worse than many more players being involved and could not sustain any degree of meaningful quality. At its best built development can reflect art as a critical faculty expressed through public opinion and taste. Precise spatial definition is the major concern in making a savvy approach devoid of simplistic 'catch all' policies that can be an insult to everybody's intelligence. Design is the only thing that makes a building sustainable through time. The former has to reflect articulate character in relation to surroundings and can not escape doing so if solutions are not to lose relevant visual resonance.

Even the derrieres of listed buildings need to have acknowledged articulate definition for real innovatory changes that can subsequently be demolished for new changes as opposed to blanket treatment of all and sundry surrounds. Such could purposefully encourage innovatory aspects that can be without damage and more easily replaced through evolving positive relevance of opinion and demand. What of art? Buildings can be enhanced by innovatory elements especially those opening wider perception of environmental uses. But such is too much to hope for in a political context of a sea of blunt ignorance where definition of resources is in fact at best peremptory and often simply puerile and inaccurate lacking reasonable articulate definition through lack of will, hard work and definition, inflexible on the one hand to all except bricks and on the other to all except concrete, never to refute or even to stand up to politicised autocracy. Our freedoms need to be reinforced from such real inadequacy.


No change can ever be effective that is delivered from a platform that is not based on reality of the environment as we know it in the build-up of a vast amount of experience and evaluation. Attempting to conceal, obliterate
and remove the past provides an excuse only for politicians to raise platforms that are neither based on reality or the future, save only for excessive public expenditures and political hangers-on of all kinds to strut their vested interest. The realm of brass plates beckons with where some of the worst demolishers can be gratuitously acknowledged for having opened such as a restored band stand. Not being concerned with the continuity of past and present should bar any politician or advisor from anything to do with the environment. Such is not to say that we should have any form of autocracy governing our freedoms.

There is little doubt amongst most of us that we should openly enjoy the use of environments and heritage wherever possible with flexibility. Environmental experience of note in terms of countryside walking and knowledge already supports some of the biggest growth industries on direct personal consumer levels. We are not to be put in cages at the whim of autocratic opinions nor our uses curtailed. Preservation can only rarely be seen in aspic for the vast body of our heritage yet such
is evident policy in the ignorant lack of confidence to fully utilise and promote the vast majority of our heritage. The real marker is whether a building or landscape is materially damaged in the most accurate honest definition, not in any way simple classification. Increasingly we will find more articulate simple local knowledge as to be of real significance. Character is that which should reflect the aims and acknowledged resources of a whole settlement not of simplistic invention and in any way autocratic opinion. Innovation is similar to art in its appreciation by society and facilitates the open appreciation of heritage. Without this we have real unelected abrogated power of utterly dubious origins and no real validity.

Many if not most preservationists might prefer not to comment on or be involved with modern architecture or modern development but to concern themselves with changes to existing character, leaving downtown areas to be selectively improved. Neither might they wish to deny certain amounts and measures of common sense flexibility and accommodation to particular needs nor to place 'straitjackets' on people. It is really only where unity of character and most significantly biographical details are involved that preservation as a complete entity becomes overwhelmingly relevant. Much could depend on that which preservation or conservation is specifically intended to achieve to act as a positive inspiration to others.

Priority does need be invested towards avoidance of monolithic business and political environments especially with regard to settlement centres for these to retain our full perception of sustained potentials. These need be accorded their distinctive spatial character that is both culturally inspirational and avoiding ground breaking impacts towards comprehensive scales of development impacting wider environmental cultural character.

Political avarice would have us believe that our most significant environments should be accorded 'mobile', tradeable valuations. The issue being that of influential material integrities that for all intent and purposes are fulsomely implausible to be dismembered. Character is a matter of substance not of degree and more than capable of being refined and reflected in public opinion and initiative. Practical experience is the more scientific approach. The fulsome identity of our landscapes and settlements is a collective 'right of passage' and responsibility belonging to critical public interest not obligated by default to politics. The main point of criticism often made with considerable justification not least in the face of massive peddling of all kinds of political and financial interests is that if others had possessed our heritage of environments they would indeed have looked after them and actively supported them very much better.

Concern for our environment still too often demands and depends on us for sudden dramatic support to consistently uphold ethics, character and substance. There seems no reality proffered in not encouraging a more proactive community approach especially wherever there is a need to prise apart political and financial interests from our heritage. We can of course afford a more discerning critical opinion where we are able to walk into our town centres fully appreciating the range of scale of their environments whereas otherwise we may be more easily deprived. Five dimensions awards us huge perspectives and panoramas. 
 
Defined character of settlement or landscape proposed in any way to be adversely affected is surely a case of  'not in my front garden, thank you' ('nimfgism' not 'nimbyism'), of not supporting other than the most articulate, appropriate and proportionate use of environments - specifically attempts to temporise, plasticise and cover public opinion to precondition acceptance of loss of character. Institutions sterilise and deny the creative integrity of individuals - akin to providing allotment huts as houses. Politics does not have sole rights or own responsibility for the substantial influence and perceived character of the environment. Change is not a right of political passage. New land and sites for development can at one fell swoop remove integral relationships with environments and communities even unity of towns and landscape heritage - it is not unknown for this to comprise sixty per cent simple compulsive land use multipliers. Essentially modern planning masses and compresses time leaving little room or real relevance for modern development, little function of lasting substance.

Public opinion should not be made to suffer the despoiling of environments of any scale.
Where for instance design is of openly critical aspect in active support of local resources traditions, opinions craftsmanship and materials it is not surprising how widely it is regarded as 'fitting'. Poor ethics and destructive 'vehicles' alike promote appalling precedents not least through venal contracts rather than uphold support for unique qualities of place and design. Every settlement should have a statement afforded it of unique historic character and environmental association not in any manner to be displaced. Integrity of character is of importance, yet imbalance is far easier to achieve with a weight of bureaucratic demands and expensive form filling.
 
Creative architecture undeservedly carries the risk of attracting base commercial interests to introduce what are banal development pressures of all the appearances of 'septic tanks' of so much coarse obtrusiveness as to literally finish off, blight and debase any further prospects. Trial by superfluous amorphous polyglots seems a prerequisite to sufficiently further destabilise, de-sensitise and debase environments. But it is literally for public opinion to consider what defines and constitutes spatial significance and influence or have their opinion 'fitted up'. We no longer seem capable of any special complementary expectation regarding the continuity of our heritage. Instead we have afforded crass superficiality to take hold whereas spatial character is of a very fine discernment needful of precise rapport and support.
 
Those cities and towns that by dint of property ownership patterns and the oft near proximity of cathedral precincts have managed to deflect comprehensive town centre redevelopments away from their core period influences and high streets may have emerged there instead with the growth of high quality, flexible specialist shopping and extensive leisure facilities as we all know and love them affording informed cultural activities in contrast to those impositions of 'half-baked alaska'. Given historic patterns of recognition and accessibility individual retail businesses might in any event choose of their own volition specifically to sustain areas of primary and supportive heritage character offering sustainable reputation and inherently more flexible choice of premises, not to change them for restrictive monopolistic spatial practices seeking to alter established patterns of preferential attractiveness.

A good farmers market held twice a month in an open central car park literally knocks the spots off the latter's overblown static rhetoric. We benefit from openness, concise critical comparative thinking and real acknowledged acclaim rather than subjective manipulative control of ourselves and our environments. If we do not fully trust the sight or sound of something basely commercial we should not remotely have its association imposed on us, its reputation in any way solidified or manufactured. There is no social credibility whatever in internal conditioning being dumped upon us nor any such character of environment. All of a building's open elevations should be broken down into individual scales to more adequately reflect individual perception otherwise instigating a purely sterile medium..

Commercially vested high streets are not often, bar baronial and iconic architecture, directly concerned with building qualities of environment so retention of buildings and facades of spatial qualities and spread of opportunities is an important issue in attracting encouragement economically competitive environmental qualities for all shops, particularly for those of less competitive specialist associations. This is particularly so through the build-up of street markets which themselves in turn complement the integral spatial qualities of shopping environments to offer quality prices particularly for fresh foods so facilitating a wider critical context for consumers to consider choice and avoid closed comparisons. Innovation of uses can itself lead to meaningful design qualities.

Attempting to replace character of evident spatial significance is generally of an altogether descending level of perception and investment the novelty quickly becoming obsolescence. It is only a matter of time before any form of simple coalescence looks in any way solidified or manufactured. There is no social credibility whatever in internal conditioning being dumped upon us nor any such character of irrelevant, ridiculous quite sham and lacking in realism. We are not ignorant we deserve to be considered and expect better. We should neither need or wish to be functionalised or categorised in this manner of commercial and cultural terms or have our immediate access to opinion so restricted. In making commercial choices freedom is everything. Because this is denied when we are critical as of our time and expense to suit our own preferment our town centres are devoid of our own preferential demands and loyalties and of appealing to our better judgement about what we think underpins our town centres' unique physical attractiveness as cultural environments.

Open street markets involving cost effective fresh vegetables, fish, meat and others show us what real shopping is not just about product draws, especially where town centres also have the choice of specialised local services. Addressing the issue of compulsion for edifices may be a feature of cutting design and fashion but local entrepreneurs also need to be encouraged in providing a village feel for retail community of whatever scale, specialised in terms of local activities. Theirs are not stand alone attractiveness albeit that trendy national fashion stores have learnt to produce real surrounding spatial environments for out of town stores of fairly distinct elegance. Yet will these produce anything more for versatility than that which has been reduced in town centres.

Few buildings, centres or settlements can truly offer to prosper without crucial evidence of open unambiguous independent spatial qualities unfettered by the character of property development pressures. The best of buildings promote an aura of interest and inquiry not of assumptive bland self-advertisement. Such stands for open reputational honesty and critical relevance to public opinion. Novel opportunistic attractions wane and internalised environments quickly no less so of expectations. No exterior articulate expression of commitment no honestly held respect nor trust. Instead of wanton political diversions not remotely or completely adequately visualised we do far better to prioritise unequivocal local opinion especially for specialist local enterprises and insist any temporised 'Pavlovian rack ups' be more appropriately located outside any rigorously influential environments. Buildings, uses and environs together require critical open influences to have any real lasting effect or on our appreciation of centres not simply to be the result of manipulated opinion. Our living history of buildings and environments can be and probably should be one of the major parts of our culture.

Town centres which sustain real environmental attractiveness offer spatial opportunities to a wealth of specialist shops and services. Unique competitive location features proffer specialised associations attracting greater interest. Prior to the growth of today's 'quality' food  superstores town centres could be seen to compete in terms of attractiveness in delicatessens. That is not to say that simply bringing quality food stores into town centres, even with free parking, would necessarily increase the competitive attractiveness of the latter. We want real local distinctiveness of quality and character as part of an environment. Indeed it might be forgotten that several 'quality' food stores began life 'in the smoke' in London and traditional department stores themselves had considerable delicatessen food halls. If we are moving towards ever higher qualities of choice at affordable prices to the extent even of wholesale purchasing by consumers is not affordable choice from 'picky' people not to be recognised as one of the prime factors for attractiveness? Exceptional knowledge of qualities of local retail demands are a prerequisite for retailers not simply those of wider commercial denominations.

It may be the binding together of unique qualities not similarities that sustains and complements competitive attraction. Centres are now often approaching the stage of not even being able to encourage fresh food specialist shops other than for those whose goods are 'pre-packaged' in hermetically sealed uncompetitive environments. Only the fullest competition as opposed to monopoly could provide stimulus to wider growth. The notion of specialism in a competitive inter town market does not relate simply to multiple stores providing rental security for investment funds. The myriad coffee shops and 'evolving' restaurants might otherwise be the only cultural remnants to provide any local interest at all business investments in influential building elevations have contributed the majority of our settlements' independent cultural character not anonymous cartoon paste. Their competitive specialised attractiveness stemmed from and now encourages making the most of local traditions and spatial opportunities. New development in such circumstances would be of unique independent integral qualities befitting neighbours, quietly vested with fitting proportions.

The commercial growth of our settlement centres previously
expressed a definitive concern for the sensitivities of public taste, not of overbearing demands for property investment. Significant retail department stores in competition arenas proffer wider local choices of quality values of extensive ranges, often making a tremendous personalised effort to interest and entertain to fill the store not wishing people to leave without considering purchasing something however small. Though it is not through size that such establishments reach full significance since special qualities might be offered of any size of store. It is through their own extensive knowledge of locally unique choices for comparative offerings with the ability to extend local shopping demands. Inclusive also of incorporating smaller franchisees for much admired specialist goods such as perfumes themselves requiring smaller selling areas they actively seek customer appreciations of all their offerings as special. Shelves alone are insufficient. Open markets similarly sell on active promotional qualities of goods in price and 'freshness'. Skills we should encourage.

There is surely a case for treating town centre attractiveness in terms of active shopping integration of mixed shopping environments not those primarily reliant on low cost simple comparison values. There is surely a case for treating town centre attractiveness in terms of active shopping integration of mixed shopping environments not those primarily reliant on low cost simple comparison values. Our once renowned department stores offered a range of standardised comparison values at different levels of expense for local choice, something that superstores offer only at best in terms of food and drink. Such qualities of service of individual appreciation and preferences are part of retailing folklore of flexible entrepreneurial skills, exceptional calibre and staff commitment. But confusingly expectation has been transferred to dull monotonous themes in banal commercial environments streaming people and goods into restrictive brands, the antithesis of outward spreading locally distinct appreciation. These are internalised controlled environments not openly engaging merely disappointing cul-de-sacs leading nowhere.
 
Extending unique competitive offerings towards attracting individual and assisted shopping trip demands underlies the significance of such facilities as 'department' stores or streets offering time well spent in sourcing best goods rather than simple reliance as given greater than reliance on that given. We seek to add to choices not their demise. Shopping encourages us to be expansive but needful to encourage offers. Bakers, confectioners and the whole gamit of food purveyors remain key to securing consistent demand. Real department stores or streets are capable of projecting unique competitive personas with extensive ranges capable of offering greater shopping choices with space to attract wider interests. You know you will probably be able to consider at least something in their key ranges. They are in no way restrictive of retail enthusiasm and a very real competitive quality of sufficient scale to influence and stimulate localities.
 
And yet down wind neither garbling of destroyed heritage reputation nor seemingly demanding of evident association might emerge just such a complete self-contained commercial novelty act with all its flags, bells and whistles (and even underground car park mandatory for developments in German cities) of not altogether unpleasing integrity rather as an exponential device and experience for those who might prefer it, surprising in its relatively small site area of no plausible detriment or association to other fabric of heritage. Things can perhaps turn out to be not so damaging or rather so b.....awful when our heritage is given especial ecclesiastical significance openly defensive and defensible demanding respect and where there is a difference of interest of surrounding ownerships which can not be overridden.

Shopping attracts through unconstrained individual preferences, on-line, ultra competitive, of satisfying vital demand for convenience, for open spatial ambience, free parking and genuine helpfulness especially now information and choice being so widely available. Denying flexible patterns of local demand and spaces in favour of implanting rigidly apportioned rental spaces and rate returns with extensive renegotiations and reliefs is illogical. These for the exclusive benefit of the same investment funded retail multiples remodelling wholesale environments but offering no definition or guarantee of complex town centre demands. Concentration already has high access and taxation costs yet centres should be discerning, affordable of convenient cultural contexts to be visited at all times not a necessity to provide forthcoming wholesale heritage restorations. People should be best left to spend their time elsewhere and should do so.

Open space not spatial massing of buildings offers environments of critical choice. We might ask are there to be no more interesting or convincing
opportunities than mindless portrayals. Are there to be no more or better Lord Streets? The arts, culture and commerce are demonstrably invested in our heritage of buildings and landscapes. Often expectations are blunted and transgressed. Too often ethics have been restricted to creeping concrete cancers in ever denser redevelopments. As if contracts should ever enjoy monopoly over our heritage and environment. Better to live without them. Qualities and audience of open well lit spaces and interest in tasteful architecture are compromised with closed thinking and extensive sector greed. Over generations our high streets have assembled unique qualities of buildings ever more quickly eviscerated. Many such experiences are now acknowledged.

With eyes well-tuned to proportion we hope to appreciate perceptively the complexities of contemporary art yet even simple insistence on detailed crafted wooden shop fronts and signage has thoroughly reinvigorated our appreciation of some of our high streets to the point where we can begin to see shopping as an exuberant expectorant pleasure not some prelude to exorcism. Such ambient natural qualities better encourage us to fashion town centres and settlements to be places of genuine diverse interest, of time well spent and conviviality. Those natural proportions of trees have conferred genuinely vital visual relief. Large geometric forms such as horse chestnuts increase our perception of space as significant and are frequently the only opportunity ever granted of any kind of urban environmental amenity.
 
Simple all-encompassing and unrecognisable mantras for enclosure unlike residential squares proffer no interest of open space. Though few buildings may comprise completely open entertaining architectural perspectives we can discern and appreciate most of their finer points, their most significant environmental integrities. Our environments are open tangible spaces not to be displaced. We should prove more capable of extending such qualities and influence.
 

To many the scale of our cities and towns should relate primarily to that of cathedrals and culture not to be displaced to that of all kinds of 'juggernauts' exemplar. Indeed for many of us the influence and scale of our cathedrals as that of pastoral care is all the more significantly poignantly felt in the loss and wholesale transition of 'fields' of heritage many of which are now so avidly displayed in fullest humility in official photographs. Even a modest 'modern cathedral city' at the end of the forties still having in comparison nationwide the most medieval buildings would lose in the fifties and sixties over half those remaining.

 
Specifying overdevelopment more frequently denies flexibility requisite for the vast majority of business needs. Not least where attempting to precisely predetermine what development should take place can be nothing short of the
promotion of gross inefficiencies. Crude political redevelopment orientation in the late 1940s to the present day have been able, it is argued, to dig in and target heritage towns for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of speculatively authorised 'over development' contracts an approach similar to ensconcing vested private interests bereft of effective public debate. These politically astute interests could and almost invariably did need authorised political favours. Even at the level of individual listed heritage properties the term 'greater need' has been used in the name of such as housing associations to strip out and gut significant unique internal period features which private ownerships would be made to preserve. Only the established integrity of public opinion for period environments of renown and critical acclaim having active heritage interests eager to fight to preserve these fought off the worst excesses and could expect to save most of their heritage for future generations.
 
Simple continuities of business do of course owe no loyalties but also do recognise the real opportunities inherent in the significance and authority of environments to project sustainable inclusive effective business cultures. Business properties might seem hardly ever to incorporate such support directly or exclusively of their own logic. But the need for them to accommodate their business cultural environments is a matter for which some prior concern is needed for flexibility to avoid rigidity in spatial design.

Successful sustainable business consistently builds on the inclusivity of traditions and environments. Any practical diminution, dissipation or diversion of these influences especially in visual or perceptive terms is improbable for the most part not sustainable, capable of leading to weak inflationary secondary character of sufficient scale to blight even significant environments. Such reduces the worth of influence to both businesses and environments. Business is only too capable of appreciating the values of environmental significance and the associated unique attributable 'visibility' of locations sufficient to contribute responsibly to enhance and preserve these without excess. Achieving real stature in business might be expected to require such intuitive understanding of the full significance of business and heritage as on these requiring to build on each adding consistently astute definition and traditions. People in every walk of life believe in upholding distinct environmental values and our contributions to these.

Discerned disregard of environmental significance denies effective business opportunities for the future. Change needs unambiguous evidence of confidence in all respects inclusive of net worth and uniqueness of environments. Such are increasingly viewed as underpinning all our values of society in what people ask and aim for everywhere.

Vandalism as a way of political life a menial encroachment interpreted as having the opportunity to be overtly destructive subjecting people to what are inevitably inadequate impersonalised standards of environment and design, not least creating short term imperatives to the extent of defacing surroundings to completely artificial standards. We should demand respect and responsibility for everyone in society not these unnatural environments. Other vandals may of course arise from instigating cycles of vandalism. All land and environments leave community values incised on us yet purposefully ignored by most official thinking.

Developers have long been able to buy up restricted values where owners themselves have not been able to secure simple meaningful proposals. Why are their persuasions of excess profits at all viable in any reasonable non-political context? Do they know something that we do not or are their persuasions simply less personalised being of more independently defined persuasion? Is this not representative of a biased authoritarian approach of inadequate knowledge and appreciation.
It is decidedly the precise ability, critical realistic stance and influence of public opinion to enhance and protect integral opportunities and environments that makes new buildings and spaces relevant to their public future.
 

No real practical abilities no real environments, certainly no effective responsibilities. Not wishing to address the evident issues of substance in detail is deliberate political guise of inflated force majeure. More realistic in garnering waning personalised political support such improvidence is more often wilfully destructive, an underlying theme utilised to root out established public morality upholding vulnerable valuable traditions, environment and heritage. Deliberate dismantling of environmental themes and values is a much vaunted 'straightforward' political art of crude device to expose audiences to ever increasing fields of damage. Such is of course openly wanton deception, purposefully despicable avoidance of responsibility and a prerequisite why such a determined lack of vision through time will assist the destruction and messing up of our environments.

 
At times it seems that almost any excuse will do for politicians of whatever 'ilks' to stand up and exercise expedient profound ignorance decrying any environmental significance to practically anything in order to bend and bind unwitting dependents. More profoundly reducing ethical responsibilities to the point of sterile values denying any real effectiveness of issues. Politicised attachments in the name of various good causes simply add to this inflated confusion. If something is worth doing in environmental terms it is so of its own accord irrespectively.
 
Over emphasis of new needs, demands et al is of literally no interest in the context of everyone's environmental amenity. Obtuse labelling of near obsolescent mass development sprawls in fraudulent terms is as near as it gets to restrictive practices. With good reason owners and tenants often view an estate house as a restrictive class. Residents of wider communities possess really interactive environments. For areas and buildings to be so consistently valued they can not simply be fitted up and filled out with people. Really imposing design of proportions and materials nearly always deserves to be influential and once built is evaluated in terms of its unequivocal continuing contribution to environment.

Over emphasised simplistic rationale for two dimensional approaches lacks design credibility. We would do better to emphasise design freedoms not least in more needful locations. Arguably we understand our local heritage well enough to value its significance yet so often what is simply dumped on us is served up using such euphemism as "it's not as" or "half as bad, as it might be" or "we've got a really good deal for the town" which presupposes almost without exception that some quality of environment has literally been sold for immediate consumption. Yet improvement and enhancement schemes for whole streets of individual properties can do and has done so much for High Streets to attract complementary individual investment endeavour of high quality making countryside, settlements and centres alike places of distinct destination and definition somewhat devoid of what can only be described as crass commercialism.
 

Mass development characterisation in such as the English disease of sprawling multiplier-induced, ever expanding 'cartoon' housing estates with altogether 'over the top' comprehensive redevelopment so quickly transposes as to be of no practical nor specific interest or influence, no culture no future. Blocks of modern development that have no influential relationship to their surroundings are wasted, hideous visual intrusions. What is observed as simply intended to be tacky in appearance through lack of any real kind of individual spirit, identity and investment for growth are simply spread like margarine, grossly mass produced dolls houses without any sustainable personal inputs in what is being doled out with embedded political multipliers. Such denying economic viability to redeveloping the poor environments of most urban areas. Once built housing areas are difficult to significantly rebuild or enhance.  No individual element of character is permitted instead the theme and its participants are to be managed, such for people who have accepted that they are not to have an environment they might help to create. While it is not unrealistic for people to expect to be offered something to aspire to this is for the most part a sterile medium. With good reason we have learnt more frequently to view standardisation with evident distaste, all boxed in from start to finish, the more so as such exposure insists on stereotyping people. Such stereotyped systems can never be meaningfully improved as various factors impact simply to degrade. Valued independent local qualities of developments of all scales clearly show us what can be better achieved. But where not, does not the simple lack of articulate investment in  these 'five elevations' of design and environment of itself speak volumes?

 
Massing without real open influential spatial qualities clearly defies expectations serving only to demonstrate opportunities lost. Any building or structure should prove capable of extending freestanding spatial influence. Design so often appears to mask character in favour of convenience yet sites are never uniform presenting and creating unique challenging opportunities. Many proposals are driven by financial necessities of one kind or another to supplant any articulate public opinion, at best blatantly inadequately. There is no attempt to explain or join the interior through articulating proportions. The massing so frequently presented utterly disappoints. Settlement character is more ably realistically defined in more straightforward honest investment in architecture and landscape.
 

Seeking to alter the character of environment and settlement through virulently dubious ethics and statistics can never realistically sustain business prospects. Settlement character is inclusive, interactive and capable of inspiring significant consumer loyalty and business preferences. Such a location factor is at the least a prerequisite to sustaining prosperity. Though neither business nor political interests would rightly claim to develop such environment or character it is of relative concern to the public and better business has always purposefully strove to support such critical community interests. Indeed business growth might overwhelmingly choose to stay out of local politics, vested and overt local lobbying. In property development the boys should be left to get excited.


Narrow political and development perspectives for immediate gratification seem so often so far removed from real environments even to be of captive novel theatre indistinct from overbearing enthusiasm for minor theme parks. An antithesis of a real attempt to design influentially other than of filling in other peoples' aspirations. Many such promotional developments even of significant scale are obviously only of contemporary validity. Both ourselves and our environments are not so proscribed. Political logic too often defines a dearth of reality, a concretive approach undeterred by sensitive human hands or thought. Espousing modernity from such a singular perspective has at one fell swoop become the leveller of historic character and relevance of many towns towards professing an image of no predominant worth or merit. Simplistic expertise as opposed to real experience can be an obsessive compulsive dimension defying the sensitivities of local communities and environments. Emphases without fitting coherent concern for existing qualities of landscape and architecture appear witless, worthless and appalling features.


Politicians are not environmentalists or even of indigenous environments or sequential spaces extended to their own property interiors. They are not interested in physical environments. To be fair they react to electorates who want immediate expenditure on their direct social and economic condition and their immediate health. Even town and city parks have for the most part had to be donated privately.

Simply extending the aspect of political control does not benefit the historic record as opposed to the shredding of previous destructive plans. Even where the listing of historic buildings and landscapes has taken place this management process has had to be kept separate in management terms, however inadequately from development processes. Surely it is time for the character of settlements and landscapes to be better safeguarded by their real possessors.
 

Laudable avowed intention to achieve demonstrable standards of environment and architecture is never really convincing. Any such significance is that we fully determine our environment and heritage as requiring further articulation. The mantra of 'development is good' is of no particular concern to anyone. Such particular interests and their ilk invariably lose both their argument and our environments. There is never any shortage of politicians and developers who want to waste time playing God theatrically. Politics that carries no personal risk would be better employed on improving other contaminated environments. Such are in all probability of millions of units where such interest would do less damage. Have we heard the last of regeneration? Political appendages do not seem able to grasp the resolute integrity and simplicity of environments regarding such primarily for exploiting. The question must be asked whether we should owe them anything.


Decisions perceived as resulting in declining qualities of environments previously acknowledged can even be validated in terms of political votes for social and public expenditure. But the environment is not so ambiguous and demands of over-development can often ultimately be seen as a factor leading to consistent political decline and change. Trust is never recovered. There is considerable debate for helping to meaningfully expedite such political change rather than seeing deliberate evidently destructive environmental politics. Development that clearly is not of discrete qualitative advantages but rather of pick and mix sludge is of itself a significant aspect, of confused identity and virtually immediate obsolescence.

In some respects encroachment is an English disease. It is not until you experience an immediate change in visual, physical and other environmental characteristics that affects you directly and immediately, be it near adjoining property or town character, that you literally perceive you are losing some quality of your property that itself could be applied to everybody. This creates real social interaction and can stimulate growing involvement in increasingly larger issues. People do not unreasonably 'get the bug' of environmentalism, of how change can or could affect them for good or ill.
 
Evident manipulation of public opinion prior to and during decision making fills most of us with the horror of a rather perverse fascination. We simply donít want to have to endorse something which we know as well from all previous hope and experience will be of almost frightening deceit, deception, often novelty. Is there nothing of more tangibly decent available. Rant consumption of our built heritage and green fields alike seems so often simply a sadistic attempt to break such character on a scale sufficient to deliver wholesale change for vested interests. Such power to influence and change the nature of our settlements and environments perversely demanding respect for this lies at the heart of fundamental political abuse. Real investment in architecture and landscape provides the benefits of open environmental significance underpinning defined integrities.
 
Since the life of abrogated political representation is supposedly 'de rigueur' should not the scale of development and
design specifically be directed to locality, notwithstanding requisite appreciation of equitable robust individual rights of development, as also together of heritage. So also to public opinion in a far more accountable, creative scale than those current mere testified sops to 'interested' comment amidst the deceit of promotional political expenditure invested towards creating new political castes. Can we not do without the patronisingly dysfunctional and offensively speechifying comment from a position of far too much self-invested promotion? Should we not invest in more appropriate initiatives of values rather than political mechanisms? Controlling political environments are themselves so intrinsically limited that are they not almost irrelevant to effective environmental concern. Politicians themselves do not seem to wish in any way to effectively discuss or define values or environments even of evident significance preferring instead literally to 'do runners'. Perhaps to be charitable it cramps their style and removes promotional capacities. But it does not take much skill simply to invest in open space and perhaps that should be their prerequisite.

But without environment and heritage we can't afford to either critically or sufficiently provide or invest even similar if any qualities of development. Increasing costs mean we can never recover what is being lost to future generations. Our environment defines the real costs and quality of investment and should not itself be consumed, a point of very real definition not to be assumed or superimposed.

 

Our aim should be towards providing buildings of unique qualities fitting the best integrities and character of uses for appropriate noted wider site areas environs not of overcoming the environment specifically through channelling over-speculative monopolistic pressures and politics. How often in support of previously invested heritage buildings and site resources do we hear the oft spoken retort of "oh, we did wish they could do something there that we could all appreciate"? It is previous investors supportive of real public appreciative taste that have provided much of our environmental wealth. But there still needs to prevail a cautious learning process towards projecting scale particularly within any comprehensive context in what is a vested public environment that we need to preserve. Indeed it is surprising how an imperative to give development permission would have avoided at an earlier time the sheer scale of politically awarded investment monopolies in prestigious town centres that of itself and of base inclusivity was bound to make them increasingly irrelevant unable to accommodate flexibility and the expanding number of evolving uses required.


If development is in any part an attempt to exploit the issue of scale by overt association surely it should specifically reflect the fullest independence of existing integrities, being prised away from what can only be grossly misleading associations of proximity to heritage and environment. The latter character is viewed and perceived as of unique proportions and scale, something that can't be replicated through time nor its position nor proportionality of significance transferred.

The monopoly of politics as opposed to evidence results in monolithic developments precluding real diverse opportunities for the present and future and invariably competing with the environment. Theirs is not the future but instead devoid of real character, diversity and vitality, a mere demonstration in time lacking in adequate or any definition. Such necessitates undeniable public opinion to compensate for its lack of experienced knowledge not mere labels. Any provision and planning is about efficiacy of resource uses and enablement not restructuring originality, otherwise it may remove wholesale existing references as of our own and future relevance.
Surely change should not in any way alter visually or perceptively the acknowledged unified character and integrity of environments, instead building and rebuilding for a real future. Greater and more extensive character should prevail in the environment so that we know through precise practical definition what is really historically relevant and meaningful, not simply added on as a matter of degree of opinion bound up with hopeless autocracy whatever informed.
There is a need to be definitively objective, not simply of description but of delimiting issues.

We learn about our most appreciable uses of urban environments particularly by encouraging ingenuity, innovation and aspiration. In such manner avoiding soul-destroying mediocrity and duplication. We need to celebrate more other peoples' achievements of wider evident and environmental appreciation in order to stimulate our own. Not to accept the notion of wanton politicised life and ambition so often flagged up and encouraged in so many restricted fields at the expense of real experience.

Architectural and artistic intuition are moveable feasts and should be considered so rather than a hindrance. So much of what we are proffered is the paraphernalia of politics of over-extended pervasive 'public' 'sector' and personal financial interests and occupation, interference and self-advancement almost totally lacking on the basis of substantive honesty and issues. Accountable definition of factors is not a matter of the balance of such, it simply isn't there even in the age of photography it being widely used though elsewhere to make issues explicit. A molehill can literally become a mountain, blown up out of all proportion, even tied up by opposing financially influenced opinion with impunity. Issues of areal or historic scale signify the setting of landscape and should not be used simplistically to impose principle as an example to smaller scale without adequate honest, precise definition. People of all interests do not have access in decision making to the basic critical definitive approach that can accommodate independent demands and qualities. We need greater material substance not the excuse of precedence in specifying the fullest significance or otherwise. The political issue often becomes an absurdity.
Aspects that 'slip through the net' innovate to create unparalleled interest and real futures. To an extent we should allow open drama. Wide really expert and experienced not relatively ignorant personalised autocratic authoritative opinion blessed with some sort of ethereal judgement is the only reality. We need more evident reality.

Environments are character and future. All development of land should be of integrated discrete environmental improvement not of temporary 'offices' and should provide an integral discerned investment for environmental resources. Demonstration of political power and authority will not adequately defend the environment of inclusive identity and vitality nor provide the innovation that can lead to meaningful new design qualities. We need diversity of opportunities that require adequate appreciation of definition and of the seeming lack of knowledge involved. Growth should not be a case of spreading the equivalent of all but unaccountable chemical fertiliser multipliers over-all and sundry under some notion of good governance. No person in the public sector ever can be said to live in a 'public sector' environment.

In some instances poor blighted, often urban, environments might be better cleared to be reinvested in landscaped spatial environments thoroughly integrated without detriment to surrounding landscape with greater use of lower density original themed building developments. The public sector  might consider that it knows best but a staggering example of such bravado is displayed in the ofter appalling development adjoining motorways, probably some of our most significant opportunities for landscape corridors. No one has thought to mention that we should not have any confidence based on what has already been done to our towns. Wherever it is apparent that there is any quality of evident integrity of natural, cultural or architectural environment it is obvious that it should be as carefully preserved as possible. The environment is a great leveller to which we are all in truth subordinate and which we can fully enjoy even in constructive mode. Appreciation of proportion can only be used creatively, fully detailed for degrees of elegance, rarely in any form of equation such as the Golden Section.

If our community and society wishes to be of any consequence or integrity that of the environment has to be fought for and campaigned as a matter of predominant public influence and authority not simply held as labelled opinion. Abrogated principle of environmental responsibility is viewed through both over-development, its propaganda and lack of control, blowing all out of proportion with equally damaging results. Integration should relate to evident existing spatial qualities The precedent of environment is our historic legacy of openness and of continuing opportunity to improve and refresh ourselves. Nothing directed by political interests need be of substance other than of near obsolescence. We need demonstrably open environments, much more open politics, defined accountability, refinement and enhancement. People need to assume the right to agree to and empower a sustainable environment capable of enhancement that underlies the
principle of individual freedom. Recognising that our appreciation and empowerment of environments is one of recognition of achievements and accomplishments. The quality of environment and heritage settlements is so significant because of their unity and evolution. The issue is one of accomplishment of real character that can be verifiably weighted in terms of the larger whole context, not of unfinished change. If others had possessed our natural and heritage environments they would undoubtedly have looked after them better. They could hardly have done worse. Objectors are not a matter to be overruled but to require greater precise definition, principle and discernment. As for other issues in 'administrating' manifestation of 'control' it is most probably of primary benefit to those having any direct financial return. People need to empower the environment themselves through investing it with their consensus of a more straightforward fashion of straightforward talking not that of some sort of abstract statistical exercise.

Environmental integrity needs to be enhanced and invested not to suffer the theft of it through ignorance and inexperience. Detailed respect for the environment in all scales reinforces its character cumulatively
. Exceptional means outstanding qualities of detail at all scales. Our heritage is the depth of our culture benefiting most in perspectives those of least resources. We do not need our identities politicising at a local scale but instead independent public debate because the public almost invariably has the greatest expertise and scrutiny. We need to be able to verify the conditions and evolutions to the present time and to be able to move forward. Our heritage and environment offers the realistic vital critical need and facility to be able to do so. If we do not incorporate our heritage we build obsolescence of a fleeting fashion..

Ugly buildings and visually polluted landscapes show their ignorance. We can't always design our environment but nature in landscape and environment is a realism and truism we should respect more often than we do. Infrastructure developments of many European city roads and blocks in the nineteenth century were conducted with a neo-classical architecture that understood how to break down scale and details into a built quality to be appreciated by all. This can be achieved today in simpler architecture with a conscious effort to demonstrate the significance and proportions of abstract details - how about colour?

Design of two dimensions doesn't mean much of anything. Even vernacular gives better depth. Better to present the best of focal point design - often corners facing multiple routes - 'en bloc' to ensure it doesn't cheapen surroundings, whatever such may be. Otherwise really brilliant design opportunities can be lost in minor execution.

Sheer functional infrastructure such as hotel developments illustrates an over-sufficient numbers of horrific non-designs planted smack into historic cities and landscapes. Such are attempts at imposed visual intimidation which need to be purposefully avoided, there being no real communication of any kind intended other than of having to take image as found, no cultural interaction at all. Such building implies and implants repetitive individual or simple mass of character of no collective interest. How often have these implants been tolerated for various economic reasons only to be followed by their 'vital' additional embodiments that truly destroy and totally dominate the scale of their surrounding visual regions. In another sense these are just contracts for the politically favoured.

The scale of the new often seems to require imposition on acknowledged qualities of older architecture and landscape in order to support investment rather than provide it. Often and even most usually this is an ugly encroachment over building lines to secure acceptance through simple hegemony of massing or overdevelopment of site units. We need better versatility built into uses not just replication design of buildings. We do not ever seem to consider three and four dimensions significantly.

Perhaps our most vital architects should start off in all-private new towns in brownfield redevelopment areas to understand time towards securing proportioning and elegance, to use better facing details and materials in a unified environment. Enhancing unity is a practical perception we can all make. In terms of full contrast the new inevitably does deteriorate and to an extent pass us by affecting the balance and rhythm of environment, the more so where either is inadequate.

We have not learnt to build sufficiently well inside environments and settlements of character without politicising what are evident realities for us to observe on the ground. Employing scaled-up proposals shows ignorance. We seem unable to find sufficient solutions to maintain and rejuvenate physical fabrics sufficiently well other than to submerge them in a sea of subjectivity not recognising that most vernacular heritage can have downside potentials to be made more interesting in what are opportunities of limited age. Not all are destructive or infilling space. We must be more articulate and not rely on obstructive tendencies and god-like judgements.


Too often elegant detailed period facades have been destroyed to provide what are literally blank walls advertised out of any scale of wider or indeed any interest, simply omitted calligraphy of hopelessly blanketed concealed over-imposed message. 'Electronic' advertising of course works well in areas such as Piccadilly Circus but such can be a might tedious particularly when spread over the country after the initial gratuitous message and art form has been absorbed. Perhaps such deliberate replacement of real particularised architectural flair and gratuitous public visual amenity by force majeure of wantonly ignorant and deceitful councils should be limited to small real 'P Cs' all over the country. Perhaps even we might try to put councils' debates, such as they are, inside museums followed by representatives who too often likewise are superseded by events they made no real visible attempt to control. We do not ever have to suffer and pass on declining environments, regardless of any espoused need. But we do have to demand to persuade.


Development of any scale should never be undertaken without the true vigour of
public initiative with politics, bureaucracy and public expenditure kept devoid of any but remote interests, away from necessitating any socio-political stance all too evident today. Of these even those supposedly indirectly related should be at a low level, intent on avoiding advancing political and personal financial interests before true open public values. There are too many people trying to make a financial living out of too much politics. We should not permit society to be institutionalised. We should instead empower the environment from all directions as also our individual freedoms to enjoy it and its life. Local and national politicians refuse to acknowledge environment as a definitive shaping factor as their concern is primarily to act as short term fixers freed of the hazard of any definitive, direct responsibility. What they do or do not do can not easily be undone. Why is it that dealing with planning in all its aspects can so often be a very unpleasant personal social experience no matter the display of advertised public relations. The environment and individual freedoms both at least deserve more than cursory or any other reflections.

Democracy is as much about safeguarding our and our children's places in our environments as that of simply any environment.
Politicians and adherents, however worthy, are rather lacking in wit let alone intentions and should not be allowed in any way to benefit systematically, occupationally or financially to interfere with needs of environment as the former are more usually
whole or part root cause of its decline and demise. What interests people most perhaps and has greatest meaning for many is the drama of how individuals are able to interact and invest most with the environment to leave this for future generations.

An overtly critical approach towards modelling and projections must be undertaken proactively in terms of real environmental and resource complexity. The only parties able to undertake this are the citizens and community whose environment familiarity and accurate complexity of knowledge are much of it at a scientific level and of significant historical biographical detail crucial to our understanding of how our interactions with the environment have developed shaping our substance and society crucially through four dimensions. Politics is comprises statistics, generalisation of real benefit in practical terms only to a few, bureaucracy is administration without environmental ethics. Their statistics are a miasma. Often our heritage can still makes us proud of where we come from and belong at any time, interactive with our heritage and landscape environment defending this vigorously.

Short term priorities and mere confusing propaganda have destroyed much of our historic town centres under a cloak of short term realities. Retail as an economic function, though, has been changing since brands were first introduced on a significant scale in the nineteenth century. Our centres in truth constitute more localised service dynamics comprising concentrated residential and business opportunities - and most significantly their assured and evolving reputations and networks. At their best department stores, for instance, offer a wide range of specialisms, not least in individual and particular sourcing and staff knowledge on orders. They don't have to be large and such functions can be seen in brand outlet centres where incidentally these are often associated with the reputation of heritage, not the least in design themes. Longer term means evidence of relevance and reputation. We have, though, developed away from this dynamism of our original centres whilst redeveloping these centres in simplistic monolithic fashion and are now extending this approach to environmental sprawl. Is it surprising we increasingly want to get away from town centres without interesting qualities. Art galleries alone can not necessarily secure these.

Giving politicians and bureaucracies independence over the environment is like giving children sweets; it is bad for their integrities. An environment under palpably visible threat should necessitate and demand marginal politics so political consensus of the public can be extracted meaningfully. All this may be glaringly obvious to everyone but then so are unbelievably qualitative environments and these deserve real, better focus.

The public however do not seem to trust politics and bureaucracies other than to an extent in not doing something too damaging to local and wider environments. Not unreasonably they regard both as capable of taking advantage for their own particular benefit of sectional interests and even individual persuasions not for reasonable development interest and conservation. Neither have even sufficiently detailed practical expertise nor experience to match what are nearly always unique circumstances. Blatant obstructionism has very little adequate answer. Planning as a process has achieved little other than the imposition of an authority, in no way creating or sustaining vital resources, merely an extremely crude form of often personalised governance without any commitment to achieve other than of crude statistics, often of an indefensible and inarticulate nature that is anything but influential. It literally has always been 'jobs for the boys'. Theirs is more a collation of a rather blunt self-advertising medium presented as beneficial authority.

But is it reasoned when these parties subsequently give way to corporate development interests even of a relatively small individual scale resulting in over development and vast proportionate increases in valuation. Is the greater good really served when local public opinion is not able to definitively foster adequate articulate common sense with factual definition instead of being dragged into an inappropriate invariably destructive 'authority'. The present system merely provides arbitrary safety valves which no sensible person relies on regarding these as a last defence for a sense of injustice or a speculative gamble. The attitude and the ethic can be so poor as to be even malicious, but politics is ever thus and its concern for any responsibility misleading. Government too clearly requires ever more common sense other than to be its own exacting authority that is so often wastefully extravagant.

Its social housing is anything but, except where business and educational investment amid their charitable contexts do not wish to put up with such ugly isolationism but call for this to be designed to sensibly enhance and reflect site and location in order to provide an equity for accounts and quality for the future, not of some dreadful present. Simple expedience of ignorance through time serving administration relies solely on the application of durable materials considerations and avoidance even of basic locational values and valuations. Yet construct social housing adjoining a town hall and you will see genuinely critical attempts to provide appreciable qualities of mass and detailing. In essence, the community with the superiority of voluntary effort should more actively articulate influence in its environment through goodwill, a question of detailed identification of worth not isolationism. Politics demands publicity in that its political dependents by assumed class or costs must be clearly seen. The real test of time, of environment and the efficacy of sustainable use, suggests otherwise.

Mean and wasteful expenditure on mass housing estates to satisfy only numeric expositions, of simplified, standardised designs and layouts, not in real time and unrelated to specific site locations and historic associations such as the influence of local relationships and local arts and crafts movements and the percolation of genuinely much appreciated vernacular architectural details, means that such basic 'excrescences' in our landscapes are obsolescent before being completed, fit only for cartoon and animal characters, in effect dolls houses outside of which people rarely pose. They are effectively caged in an industrial product on which they are dependent as an asset. All housing types and areas should have apportioned detailed thoroughly integrated spatial landscape not just meaningless often deceptively devious titles of garden city or suburb. Housing as an administrative handout not as part of an effective environment should not be given house room as it ever leads to the sterile stereotypes we see so much of today. All this has been known for many, many decades and politics produces nothing. The community itself needs to be given the expertise of experience.

Base commercial character, particularly of scale, is never appropriate for the freely expressed multiple associations and heritage of town centres simply because of overwhelming financial targeting which can't logically coexist on equal terms particularly with time extensive heritage. Either one must predominate to the fullest extent. People should not be deviously misled by platitudes. Variety in everything can be fully disposed of and not have us left with some preposterous non eradicable residue of totally inadequate shifting political concern ("confidentially the council is very embarrassed by the rate relief and indirect associations that have come to light from elsewhere").

Superceding issues of ever greater scale seek preference of location and size in the market offering monopoly with some minute element of relative convenience. Instead obsolescence that is relatively unchangeable becomes the norm. Why councils have insisted on their flag ship projects in a market of continuous change in business and residential properties where these could be better encouraged is for all intent and purposes unknown. Political fear and greed could even be better served by securing free short term parking. How many people refuse to enter town centres because of these enormously high annual costs. No convenience there.

An investment must be just that, as applaudable in real time, real people, real productivity shorn of inadequacies never any sort of politically synthesised stimulus wrapped up as passive non logical environmental fudge. Conservation is required for good housekeeping and financial audits of irreplaceable investment assets, natural and man-made, not for some sort of ignorant autocracy. The lack of an investment ethic leads to non productivity, non responsibility and a basicly obstructive, hugely expensive approach for little practical purpose that can literally be a waste of time. Public inquiries or reflections of our appreciation of lotteries. Politics and bureaucracy can be contradictory to what most most people would like to see in practice, if not simply 'sops' to public participation. Their 'experts' on conservation can be an even greater illusion, merely an exercise in autocracy and obfuscation that defies difference of opinion extending to factual evidence. The bureacracy with its specific 9 to 5 interest is so often a danger to our physical health, so often a question of misleading people, at times refusing to accept their ignorance, their accountability.

We are inherently associated with and associates of our environments and as such appreciative or otherwise of its public face and of public responsibilities for the future and whether these have been included as a matter of proper priority interest and respect, of our ability to appreciate the quality of such environment assets. Such interest is an extension from good neighbours and is quickly manifested. Political and bureaucratic systems are totally and socially inadequate in terms of real time experience and expertise targeting their own position of authoritarianism  rather than inclusion. They have a point in not trusting vested private interest, but not 'everybody' as it were, in contributing to irreplaceable heritage and environmental resources and the effective management of these. Yet the time is long gone where the public should not have been critically invested with common sense critical opinion, effective research and records. The public has been assembling such for generations. Politicians and bureaucrats have impeded real growth of responsibility siding with dynamic changes that have brought wholesale lurches to the direction of our environments, anything but for the better.

Our Environment needs an ethic throughout from top to bottom that invests. Public investment other than infra structure does not provide the necessary qualities of integrity to last into the future, largely being political sops and hand outs of one kind or another. Building for the future even when initially more expensive and slower is effectively of lower longer term costs in all respects. Immediate demands can be met with more functional access to services of shorter duration and function. There should be a responsibility in all development to enhance the environment in terms of the quality of traditions and artistic creativity. Quality does not come cheap which is why it belongs to the envionment and future.

There is none currently and never has been other than in 'taking over' an environment nor has there been any intelligent articulate exposition or defensible posture of what are inherently productive conservation potentials, these being at times inadequately explained and recorded in factual detail to the extent of inaccuracy and base authoritarian terms. It is conceivable that the lack of real creative contexts in local government is moving towards more articulate neighbourhood political control consolidated in the wider context to enhance and embrace our environments and landscapes in all contexts. We should achieve more to consolidate local opinion and provide advance inputs from social and environmental science instead of unproductive 9 to 5 tinkering which is purely at best a commentary of sorts with no will or creative ability. Our ambitions have to be based on the best of available traditions of environment and commitment to care and persevere. Ignorance from any direction, particularly official, can be obscene and so can deliberate obfuscation and time wasting to confuse issues and effective responsibility. Even given recorded biographical and architectural significance a completely botched job is made of simply, literally 'filling in'. The only amenities we are to have created in the latter half of the twentieth and likely the first half of the twenty first century are huge hills of consolidated landfill tips. That and almost totally unreal nomenclatures of just about any and every description. We have an ineffective arbitrary system, one that is inherently incapable of adequate detailed discussion. One of the most damning things about planning is that we don't really know who is doing it. Is it really a process of political power avoiding responsibility in practical terms? Largely a quasi-political cabal? Planning for what, by whom in precise terms? The greater good, the greater whole, of what? As such ineffective in environmental terms, purely a response. Joe public could not do a worst job of critical provision of what otherwise becomes a botched environment of every scale. It does not need for us to endorse this, certainly not in environmental ethics.

There is responsibility to definitively define and enhance continuously the character of environment, in no way to be destructive, or to rely on personal whims or contrasting spin-offs, to use wit and creativity rather than process. Buildings of no character are obvious, sterile in atmosphere even of unpleasant odour, degrading demeaning 'cheaper than anything else' stereotypes and unpleasant in association forming whole urban and city areas where there is or becomes no tradition and environment to build upon. Building takes its cue from associated qualitative suroundings or is as vacuous, sterile and stereotyped as a sore thumb.
It is our responsibility to maintain the unity of landscape and built environment, its strength and dominance. Not to see this frittered away. Character is a positive attribute. People who believe in the environment sing from the same sheet and find no difficulty in seeking agreement based on fact and the obvious opinion of a spatially significant realism, a practical defensible scientific approach. We should always seek to look after our heritage yet never as an excuse for verbage authority, for the assumption of an authority structured on an order mentality bereft of practical expertise or any scientific approach to buildings expertise and experience or requisite research of information. Just an authority? No real evidence of expertise or experience of buildings or environment, nor of accountability? It is absolutely rediculous to use people with no practical experience of buildings, works and environment. Just a cabal of politicians and their accolytes perhaps? Time to give back authority to those who can back it from the ground up, rather than to change the best in our environments on the basis of a lack of direct historic accountability. In the best of traditions we need to craft solutions more than we seem able to in the generalities we apply.

When we seek to consider more thoughtfully it is obvious that a serious scientific shortfall of information, practical and historic reality exists in administrating our heritage, buildings, environments and landscapes. A child can appreciate that much of our heritage is inadequately and incorrectly researched and that many if not most recent buildings and developments divested of their impact of the new are obviously ugly especially in details, even out of place and almost purely two dimensional, even unjustifiable. The use actively and directly of the public and politicians is the only real advance. Our efforts at paid administration are necessarily inadequate in understanding and should be acknowledged as such, really as being fairly ignorant and crude management tools.

In these days when many town centres can not offer their previous collection of insights and associated heritage reputations we should remind ourselves that the range of services they once offered can now be widely exceeded by the internet. In such circumstances inadequate or destructive practices are unlikely to prove acceptable. Funded heritage and environment management is totally insufficient as such and directly involving and investing practical public politics offers the only real, necessary sufficiency. We have not even been able to secure landscape - the only real defence against sterile urbanism. Motorways instead of offering new breath of landscape corridors have been shamefully blighted with buildings offering monstrous inadequacy of visual blight to all surroundings. Land in Green Belts, the latter which can be reduced for development land,  provides no screening or landscape corridors and is often of

The internet simplifies comparative analyses and integrities enormously and offers much more practical expert decision making in which real evidence based public expertise and experience can prevail. Cumulative ignorance based on predence alone compiles the destruction of our man-made environment let alone its ecology. The public and environmentally aware politicians could hardly have done a worse job than at present. Past political and bureaucratic condesension seemingly held back a tide of vested interest only to mould this in their own image and partnership of justification. The relationship between elected politicians and their public is not complicated but increasingly made more accountable - and could be prospectively more so in retrospective terms. Residents vote for 'their' councillors specifically. Business has a part to play but an openly honest definition. No quasi representative or semi-establishment pose can support history when consequent ugliness is staring us in the face.

Planning itself is about how something could be achieved not what. The latter needs must and admit to be based on articulate critical social consensus not involving any material assumptions or projections independent of such.Simple 'blockhead' design where buildings have no articulate elevations or roofs are as abstract as planning policies without adequate definition. Control must be in the hands of critical communities and positive or negative exceptions critically well balanced. Civil servants do have an ethic of no self interest which is an appropriate check on vested material personal political interests and profiteering but particularly interesting in investing an administrative context for buildings and environment integrities if combined with real personal practicable expertise and experience at all levels quite literally 'in the field'. It is this element of practical utility and realism that has hardly ever been sufficiently demonstrated resulting in huge damage. To what extent local government has any real local knowledge other than expediency is a moot point. It is time to invest back the community in no uncertain terms and to encourage 'their' policy framework. The community has the specialists and deeper commitments to access, more scientific (read practical) research, build up and holding the reservoir of knowledge, of critical opinion of heritage and environment, none other has nor will become available in anything like sufficient or robust content. Records only remain with the community. No government sector ever retains such - even in the peremptory listing of buildings the minor paragraphs have no guarantee of accuracy. Placing our trust of such in any or all of the political 'sphere' is willfull negligence. Theirs is simple expedience of power, even invested expansion of their ever-increasing direct economic interest.

Evidence, please, of direct demand on the ground by shops and end users not by some supposedly comparative projection of need or economic attraction. Really good manufacturing and assemby businesses still emerge from small 'bunkers' by dint of real business expertise to relocate in shiny modern premises. Has anyone considered that High Streets may have been established before business rates? Certainly that they welcomed immediate open access without constriction, akin almost to free speech accompanied by a shrewd localised political base as to sound prosperity reaching out to all. That shopkeepers and services had to secure and enhance their own properties and influence surroundings investing their hard earned money in character and evidence. Shoppers do travel for geater convenience, choice and service instead of being crammed in, told what to buy and made to pay for the privilege. Accessability is a matter of choice and people 'vote with their feet' as the measure of sustainability.

Use of a high street either for comparison shopping or convenience has largely gone by default but touch and feel is still relevant when we deal with anything of considerable expense or directly concerning our own bodies. There is scope for the high street in non convenience shopping concerning assets, leisure, health and body as specialisms, perhaps as a new era as our older service sector declines with changing efficiencies but also a reflection of new service markets for growing residential use of town centres for more responsive servicing of property. Our town centres have responded to conviviality and greater social use made of such as coffee shops. Stark commercialism is not a critical resource in an era of greater leisure - but the environment is, if that is it has survived. Many new service industries have emerged in human resources, business promotions, communications and information services selling 'goods' often still of material products and 'know how'. Footfall is still significant for those firms wanting to 'feel' the market directly and be most closely associated with what has become social competition. Social technology now moves at speeds faster than most.

Are material brand emphases and cluster associations such as outlet centres already replacing high streets not just for material goods but for character in all its associations? Yet can these compete with sufficient efficiency in time and choice with internet economies, comparison and artificial intelligence? The internet offers far more choice and evaluation The outward spatial spread of urban development has made high streets increasingly irrelevant to convenient, connected and aware consumer shopping. Even the large shopping centres are a market place of insufficient size and restricted specialist knowledge for consumers. High streets were also a market choice for small traders and perhaps these should have to rely less on bank funding and be given service encouragement locally through graduated business property taxes. Is it not for the 'village' to encourage through use those shops and services it sees as vital. Perhaps we should learn more from the 'tech' start ups and encourage more informal grouping associations and clusters and less pointless commercial sprawl under the labels of scope and opportunities. Many such businesses can grow fast and need locally-orientated younger more enthusiastic staff who are likely to be more flexible and forward thinking. As we use heritage more efficiently as opportunites for more 'touchy feely' businesses associated with change, socialising or simply a greater social context, public enjoyment and culture should we not protect these finite architectural and open spatial assets in the face of defacement through promotional marginal change of increasing crass scale or effect? Are we not more and better informed than to be told what to do. Are we not all better connected. High Streets have been centres of communications in all respects as much as centres of consumer trading. Impediments to consumer parking have helped to sound their death knell in the names of 'efficiency', 'management' and 'revenue support'. Why not let people decide more conveniently as a priority.

'Taste' and discernment are something you can better acquire from the proportions of our heritage and from creativity. It is something not evident in politics or bureaucracy. We acquire it by living in our communities and environments where we can discern change and art in their elements. Fine thoughts indeed. Planning is not really about choice rather about fitting things into the physical environment that are a demonstrable need and demand from the community as part of society. Being impartial is the only benefit to a democratic system that now considers it an appropriate need to give permission wherever possible and through reduction in costs to directly involve elected local representatives. In the past committee decsions have been too vulnerable to influence, patronage and bias particularly involving larger scales but this may better be addressed through informed bodies of local opinion. The former have also encouraged say-so expertise and a lack of real practically based expertise and experience in favour of a restrictive 9 to 5 routine. New anything is not necessarily and informed position rather than being novel. The charade of inadequate non crital or accountable opinion has made everybody in the real public sphere despair since post war years. The environment can only be defended and built through the local community. Everything else may literally turn out to be whitewash that in critical terms does not bear the test of time. 'Blockhead design' is not even two dimensional but insultingly lacking in depth of details and can apply both to buildings and land use. Such out of scale development, let alone character can rarely be accommodated in a neighbourhood. Neither bureaucrats nor politicians can be considered arbiters when the local community researches opinion, common sense evidence and considers development overbearing.

One might consider any 'planning' format, as such one in terms of response to philosophy as opposed solely to mechanics, one of expanding spaces in those appreciable attributes of physical character and of art and culture - the urbanity which has been said of architecture in the quality of our relating to each other. Instead it would seem to be of 'quasi political' mode, a theatre for personal politics, a denial of effective practical community direction and a vast expense. As individuals in a public environmental domain we respect only what we sign up to and endorse and this can be of considerable effect in privately supporting through positive associations investment in our heritage. Why do we still allow others to effectively replace our environments without articulate or accurate definitions or comparisons. We should never give too much away to planning. The concepts and changes are both significant. Too much representation by interested economic parties and representatives is quasi political without understanding the bedrock that fine environments must be sustained wholly in order to provide the econcomic inspiration and nuturing that they so consistently have managed to achieve. Anybody selling any part of its character or substance has got to be viewed with open suspicion as to relevance for a prosperous future and real valuations.

Attempts to "back heritage" and claim it is being protected as a priority are usually words only. Unbelievably there is no practical guidance on researching heritage impact statements which are then 'assessed' subjectively without any local research. Such can be relatively ignorant officially and based only on an averaged visual assessment. Real expertise can be understood best in historic local expertise. Is it not time to curtail personalised vacuous and inexpert opinion and give far more control to local knowledge and historic records. Even to endorsing critical representative local opinion in more modern developments. How can we otherwise suggest that representative development can progress. Yet the evidence of active residents associations' elected representatives and those of ratepayers associations has too often been displaced by crude party politics instead of evident support. Is it not now time to give effective Control back to local neighbourhoods and stop the practice of scaling up all issues even to the extent that we have no craft building traditions only totally out of scale blockhead designs. Out of scale development may have a place in city centres but surely could relate to redevelopment of awful political building blocks that have a duration only of decades before decline sets in. Modern development of towns has been so awful that the only attraction their centres seem to have is to provide higher density housing offering some form of sense of class community. Vested 'recommendators' may not be as useful as more effective and skilled discernment. Where permission is now positive in principle control needs to be made positive to local support and opinion, and should have a roll to be impartial.

The greatest despoilation of environment since the end of the second world war and the beginning of comprehensive development plans seems to occur in terms of positive planning proposals or accommodation of these that effectively block changing futures and deliver monopolies, not sufficiently detailing even minor building elevations and changes where local opinion can be greatly superior to  effect the quality and detail of change. Wanting to do and be part of the 'right thing' may be admirable but it is a vacant reality unless the public sector can achieve something in three dimensional reality for which it is patently illogical in context, notwithstanding creative iconic architecture. Otherwise it should take its cue from informed public local debate, especially with regard to issues of scale notwithstanding that the environment is a physical natural and man-made entity that can be researched at best by local interests.

Planning remains an organisational context without critical public input of control, merely contextual formats. With regard both to countryside and city urban areas it has maintained no character of environment, purely industrial product of no design quality in spatial terms. We would best acknowledge ethics in all details to local debate of common sense and public direction to be subsequently reflected in local politics. No bureaucrats or paid staffing have any credible expertise other than subjective and inevitable personal politicisation.

The problem with any aspect of politics is that it has built-in obsolescence and personal defence. It is overwhelmingly of standardisation of product and environment because not least that it has no personal position of practical responsibility.

High Streets have developed frequently from markets offering both high qualities of fresh food and competitively cheaper goods, often taking advantage of having to move supplies quickly. They are open to observation and their previous access to modes of transport have meant that much of interest and opportunity has been displayed. In recent times they have become 'stops' with heavy property and access taxes. Is it any woder they heve suffered new competitive sites offering access and cheaper spaces. Comprehensive redevelopment has made many if not most town centres a competitive retail culdesac, ones that have removed the flexibilities of existing properties and heritage to provide for the many specialist service and retail businesses to add attraction and move up the ladder of property and tenancy investment. Local authorities have exerted monopoly shopping opportunities that have not added to the whole but spurred more accessible cheaper all-round opportunities with the mixing of many retail and wholesale opportunities, removing whole sectors from the heavilly consumer access taxed centres. It might be that only free short term parking, following the successful model of superstores will provide the only measure of centre survival together with a practical respect for heritage buildings and centre surrounds that will encourage people to have respect for their specialist services and food offerings, for if one can not conserve their heitage why should they patronise them?

As part of our wider culture, if not solely of business sites, there needs to be a form of effective local public control over scale in all development aspects. In many areas we need emphasis in the art of architecture of public appreciation in quality of detail. Art and craftsmanship both.

As part of our urban culture, if not solely of business sites, we need a form of effective local public control over scale in all aspects. In many areas we need emphases in the art of architecture capable of appreciation in qualities of detail. We need such new patronage from business and demand from consumers seen in not a few European and other overseas cities. We need to look after our interests, visual entertainment and informed culture in town centre heritage and avoid the deceit of not being able to facilitate such experience through the sheer scale of imposition and control being exerted by investment interests.

Perhaps our town centres are a victim of 'brandisation' that has bought out the relationship to local businesses and populace in the name of greater public interest and fund revenue - or rather contracts for 'the boys' of which the greater good is neither apparent nor future interest but primarily overkill of the higher value traditional site areas. If they could actually create value instead of rate reliefs they might have had more of a case, but probably, indeed almost certainly not. Convenience and parking are not reflected in substance partly because of the early inability to design or screen encased by buildings under and above ground parking where such could be implemented cost effectively in the more 'down market' areas near High Streets. Instead out of scale comprehensive exclusive redevelopment has led ultimately to contraction and ultimately to blight and inadequacy for all.
Trying to 'search the High Street for information, specialist advice and choice has become a function of the search bar on our computers. And for immediacy we still need physical comparision and choice yet even the vaunted park and ride schemes require much of our time and are not especially suited to carrying retail parcels. We must hope for some reassembly of a real pedestrian village scale for a local market at least. Yet county wide farmers markets held in central areas are a notable success in bringing in customers for quality food products. Perhaps specialist retail fairs might do likewise. Narbeth in Wales holds a food festival and has really premium food stores and services, including chocolatiers. The town smacks of quality attracting countryside clothes stores all clustered around its diverse architectural centre and encouraging surface parking facilities. Perhaps we should return to the basics of local food qualities and the degree of service that this requires to influence the content of our High Streets.

Change is in fact our lives and the amount of personal incapacity to accommodate this in meaningful human relations and human ecology terms is shameful as is the number of 'inputs' of specialist 'expert' opinion where common sense might be otherwise quickly achieved in development without the overbearing use of subjective personalised official opinion. The cost of heritage can not be maintained without realising that nearly all environments and buildings are subject to cycles of change that may even return to their near original. Officials are at their most dangerous when they do not understand physical realities and rely exclusively on somebody under some heading supplying opinion or process. Indeed the social relationship and even language between local public, including applicants, and some local planning authorities defending their 'personal positions' has frequently been so bad as to lead to other potentials. The cost of such 'political' excess of opinion can not be born and is a huge impediment to simple property maintenance almost at times to the point of prior demolition. The political and bureaucratic domain needs to acquire real defensible abilities not a 9-5 opinion from a different sectionalised society environment. The paucity of accurate environmental, architectural and historical records has resulted in accepted ignorance and inaccuracies of provenance and dates even in listings and mere reliance on inadequate and less defensible expertise. The unwillingness to deal with these evidential issues and to rely almost wholly on officialised opinion means that we would be best to resurrect the concept of local parish records being extended to independent environmental evidence and kept locally under acknowledged local trusts devoid of politics and bureaucrats. Local enthusiasts are likely to do a far better job of continuous research, records and management. Are we not all an integral part of our environments  representing for us a reciprocal part of our personal assets. We do not willingly choose to give them up or lose them through ignorance.

The one thing we can never give the bureaucracy or politics is our time. They simply do not relate to our environmental time or our heritage and can not perform the same functions of independent critical expertise and real integral experience of society. The National Trust though is not just something we can actively respect and subscribe to but is an example of consistent investment and even environmental 'enhancement', most interestingly more than sufficient as a learning process. This latter has much to recommend itself towards Local Environment Trusts being set up to manage change the environment on an accountable evidential basis where none exists nor even paltry records at present through party political and quasi political and environmental bureaucratic processes and values. The only prospect of the latter is to assemble restrictive information not even to secure greater detailing in these or building perspectives, merely an ordered administration. Local Environment Trusts should incorporate our natural and built heritage on a much more effective, reliable and cost basis, having access to all local authority records such as they are, usually in a deplorable state. Really cutting edge critical researched public initiatives in planning and environment have been known since the end of the second world war with ratepayers electing independent councils to block the open destruction of heritage town centres. What is a priority now is gradual assertion of local public control in a passive wholistic context that can concern all investment and future environment. We need the public to demonstrate effective environmental and spatial conservation, particularly with regard to both landscape and townscape qualities as demonstrable evidence. Politicians and bureaucrats are best left to their own opinion which should be held accountable to such public opinion. Party politics is not sufficient with regard to such accountability while visible instances can not be denied at any scale. In short they have been getting away with a monsrous waste of environment and invetment for far too long which has resulted in inflated local government expenditure and taxation. They have simply missed the central point, for one instance, that much parking should be free. Instead they have intended to tax and spend on their own minority priorities. Public researched opinion is common sensible, equitable, knowldegeable. It certainly can do no worse and have far better expert values than the rediculous modern historical exerts from so called authorities we have been subjected to to date which are so short term and destructive. But will such transference take place easily or rely simply on aversions to the latest scandals in the environment? Local Environment Trusts would need to be politically invested not as somewhat arbitratry appeal processes are at present as largely a simplistic difference of opinion.

Our heritage is of ecology, landscape and proportions that allows us to fully expand our perceptions of horizons, to think in scientific explanation of a wider context, capacity and confidence, to liberate our experience of where we can belong, where we can gain stimulus. Lack of realphysical expertise and experience can be found to be impractical in the extreme. This should never be two dimensional in thought and decision making stereotyping so much of present day building designs and debate. Quality in building and landscape design can only be encouraged from the basis of our built and environmental heritage. Nothing exists in a vacumn. What we see is what we can believe in, nothing else. The environment is also a matter of public will, debate, amenity and responsibility, not of the primacy of what in essence are marginal socio-economic demands. Our heritage as a matter of sentiment retains our interest in all forms of localised retail and commercial services compatible with our evolving desire for ever more direct and immediate accessability and communications as opposed to more centralised centres. People may choose not to congregate in areas of flash commercial interest where development has not been around as opposed to 'through' heritage centres. Some small towns may even support their retail specialisms and significant shopping activities through the visibility afforded through High Street traffic flows, some involving tourists. Central place theory may not be sufficient. Neighbourhood forums based on legal documents may be one of the most promising means of divesting outside interests and unsuitable authoritarianism. Apart from obvious detailed, spatial amenity landscaped development we need to empower the environment. Visual views belong in the public domain, these are a matter for public demand in both integral land use and especially in topography. The infinite complexity of physical and cultural environments and the public's defence of these is the real guardian of our individual freedom of choice.

 
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