In Edinburgh we have wonderful buildings and monuments. The city is a World Heritage Site due to the high quality of architecture and the detailed planning used in developing the New Town area. One of the ways that the city retains this status is the rigorous planning process. This is a function of the City Council and one of the ways you can keep tabs on what is happening in your area is to visit the City Council planning portal. Of course your days may not allow you sufficient free time to indulge in such frivolous time wasting and that is where us journalists should fill the gaps. The illustration is a copy of two planning applications made this week which are for two pubs applying for permission to renovate their interiors and exteriors. In total there were 17 applications during the week ending 18th January 2010 for proposed changes to buildings in the City Centre area.
In the field of journalism we are often told that it is local news which is failing most quickly, and it seems that there is little place in the few remaining local newspapers for news as mundane as this. During part of my recent journalism qualification, one of the nuggets of wisdom passed down which remains with me is that news is something which makes someone stop and say ‘WOW!’ But what makes you stop in your tracks might well be something which is happening in your neighbourhood rather than the declarations of a national politician for example.
In England the government have decided that planning applications still have to be advertised in the local and regional press, which The Guardian estimate will protect about £15m of advertising for local newspapers, in itself good news. But in Scotland the planning legislation is slightly different. The Town & Country Planning Scotland Act 1997 allows for either an advertising notice to be placed in the newspaper or on the land which is affected by the planning application.
Notwithstanding the lack of any publicity in the local press, in Edinburgh at least, the council manage to publish the list of applications on their website which allows any interested party to keep up with the planning news, if they check it regularly. If you are a neighbouring proprietor you should receive neighbour notification of a planning application, but there is a real danger of missing an important development only a few doors away from your house or office unless the local news of ancient newspapers is revived in some way.
If it is no longer viable to print local newspapers on a weekly basis then perhaps this might be another useful job for the Internet?