Sunday, 18 September 2011

Access by means other than the private car.

In the Maserati speech, "Chutneysand" Pickles, having been remarkably quiet of late, has popped back into the firing line, ably started in is Lamborghini speech earlier in the year, thereby proving the old adage that there’s' really nothing new in politics.

The fact is that ‘chutneys’ has shown himself to be so remarkably out of touch with reality. The simple truth being that whislt any self respecting dapper junior planning silk might wear a beautifully cut Italian suit (and even at the weekend be seen in a pair of Gucci loafers (or even Tods), he wouldnt be seen dead in an Italian car - not least because time is money and time by the side of a motorway getting the w****r signal from IT reps in Audi A4's is doubly humiliating; the motoring option of a junior silk is surely a Porsche 911 about 4 years old.

We thought it might be fun to put a few cars to the planning professions and seek readers views.

Queens Counsel: Well obviously they travel First Class Rail and usually get client to collect. Otherwise a London taxi (considers himself on an intellectual par with Stephen Fry -dont they all?? but doesn't have the imagination to think of anything else). Audi Q7 for weekends in the Cotswolds.

Chief Planning Officer - SAAB: the only one in the office to get the full essential user allowance. Calm, conservative, sensible, the post holder needs to show local Architects that he’s on a professional par. As in his day job, he hasn't quite grasped that the world is changing around him. He didn't really think it significant that the dealer moved from its old showroom (used by Mercedes-Benz up until about 1988), to the Vauxhall showroom in 2008. Too busy with staffing cuts and thinking about Tracey, there's no way he'd have caught on that this once prestigious brand (who he regularly reminds members had used a local engineering practice to supply seat springs in the '80's) was sold to a Dutch hedge fund a year or so back.

You might occasionally spot some of the younger generation in the Audi A4 about 3 years old as a safe bet.

County Planning Officer - Land Rover Discovery: was the first to find out about the LA smallholding being sold off to pay fr the merger of his minerals team with neighbouring councils so was able to suggest to the Assets and Disposal Committee that an off market deal would be more cost effective to the Council Tax payer. His higher salary means a nearly new Disco fits the bill and he can off-set some of the costs against running the smallholding.

Planning Inspector - Quirky . Sometimes the little green E on the back (come on tell me you havent spotted them?) means they've rented from Enterprise car hire at a competitive rate. Always drive good solid cars, working like clockwork (literally) guaranteeing them a zen like ability to turn the corner to site at just the moment the speaking clock states the site visit time. DONT EVER try to catch one out on timeliness, you will always lose.

Development Management Manager -BMW320D. The number of meetings he attends and sites he visits means he needs a car that with return a high MPG on his casual allowance but is a little racy. Needs to make developers think he's a sharp cookie and no pushover. Rarely realises that the 320D the consultant drives is the pool car, used only on first visits to give a sense of equality and psychological edge.

Policy Manager. Rover 214si. Loves that he's preserving the Britain he grew up in but thinks generally the car an abomination (the CAR not the rover). Hasn't ever grasped that his Rover is a sham, in reality a Honda, built using the last of the LAST Tory governments money to bribe the Japs to build old cars in new factories in Swindon. Perfect choice as he doesn't need to get anywhere quick and if its a few years out of date doesn't really care too much.

GIS Officer: Marin Faifax Sports Tourer Cycle bought through HMRC cycletowork scheme.

Planning Officer: VW Touran or Ford Fiesta: Usually a product of family life or youth. If you are lucky you might get the odd one with a sense of style (Alfa Mito) or, usually where two planners in the same team match up, a new model VW Polo.

Conservation Officer. Alfa Spider (summer), Hymer Campervan (winter). Exuding a sense of style and imagination that can knock you aside, you cant quite decide if his constant cancelling and re-scheduling of appointments is a result of over work, disorganisation or most likely overheating of the Alfa on the way. Once he puts the Alfa under cover for the winter resorts to the family runaround, which provides cheap family holidays for his large family. Most likely his conservatism and brogues a product of traditional Catholicism as much as his private school education.

Sustainability Officer: Mitsubishi i-MiEV Sponsored by Proof if ever it was needed that her rural district needs car borne transport. Wont ever do a site visit more than 40 miles from base, in case she cant get back. Spends week-ends in Newquay (or more likely drinking mocachinos at the Marram Grass Café at Bamburgh wave school) with her common law wife, Emma, in their immaculate split screen VW Camper.

Planning Consultant: National: Company E-Policy states public transport first – but never late for meetings. Hence use of a day rate + disbursements. At the lower echelons, BMW116D - a nice starter for recent graduates, rising to Audi A6 SE Sport line for the high fee earning Associate Directors. Above that level they rarely leave the office other than by 1st Class rail chargeable to client for expert witness at Inquiry.

Tracey: Vauxhall Corsa. Loathe as we are to stereotype, the workplaces of planners are full of Traceys. Be they technicians, admin or cleaners. All utterly essential and make sure place clicks tomorrow. Without them the system collapses. Take your choice of essential add-ons. Stickers declaring the state of finance at the local cancer hospice; pink dice or insurance furry meerkat on display; or alloys swapped by Gav the dogging motor mechanism partner in a great deal on eBay. RNLI sticker.

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