Well done Chris Blythe on a few words of common sense in a world that seems to have retreated from reality and substituted well-meaning legislation for a cold acceptance of everyday life and its inherent unpredictability (CM, July/August).

I am the chair of a planning committee for our local town council. Its vision is detached from economic reality, and there is no effective challenge as they are considered ‘topic experts’. How did we create a planning system that gives such powers to these unaccountable ‘topic experts?’

I am not comforted by the general thrust of planning legislation, having sat through the first two days of the examination in public of our local development framework, the main theme of which was the importance of special planning documents that would take account of local character, historical influence etc. Do I see writ large the hand of middle class niceness keen on preserving the environment, which equals preserving the value of their properties?

We seem to have lost the Victorian self-confidence that created so much of our key infrastructure. Today it seems brisk and brutal, but look at the enduring benefits.

Nigel Clarke MCIOB