Friday, 8 April 2011

To Fee or Not to Fee

Rarely does a Friday morning go by when I don't tremble-nay, quiver-at the prospect of the dog shredding the postman's fingers before devouring the plastic around the planning magazine ready for me to pick up the tattered scraps to read.

I'm often vexed by the sheer bureaucratic indulgence of some of the writers to the development control forum page. I've watched with barely concealed astonishment for the last few weeks as some of the finest brains in that most secretive inner sanctum of the Planning Department "the vetting room" grapple with almost theological lust the reasoning and logic (in their minds the lack of it) behind what can only be described as the most modest discrepancy between the statutory fee payable for a planning application of “more than” 50 dwellings and one for 50 dwellings or less.

The regularity with which councils must be inundated with applications for 51 dwellings just to take advantage of the £85 discount surely needs investigation as a matter of financial urgency?

The writer - hailing in the nomenclature JP - has hogged these pages with a singular lack of grasp of the meaning of two words - namely “more than” for some time.

Readers attention is drawn to the little applied legal doctrine of "Ronseal Reasoning" [Mr J SeeBee (ex parte Ray Norshine and Barry Cade v SoS for Utter Nothingness]. In this little reported case, His Lordship Cliff Hanger clearly and eloquently summarised the principle.

"If "less than" is equivalent to a lesser or lower number and "more than" equates to a number which is in excess of the principle number, there is prima facie, no doubt in my mind that "more than 50" is not the same as 50 or less. When I called in B+Q on the way to this tedium this morning, to buy for Dorothy's pergola, a 25 litre tin of Ronseal Colour Stain Plus, it was priced at £50.99. Only having having £50 pound notes in my wallet, I chose to buy 30 litres of B+Q's own brand at £49.99. As Dorothy so delightfully put it on the phone a little later - oh CLiffy but Ronseal does what it says on the tin"

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