… but you can’t take planning out of the boy.

Well, that is what was said around the time I decided to leave the employ of Walsall Council.

However, as I once remarked to a former colleague, once you are on the outside planning becomes largely invisible.  Today, though, I noticed something that triggered a rye smile.

r0 60 (360x304)
Rear of 60 Howdles Lane. The sharp bend is just off left.

When I began working for the Council on the 8/2/82 (how could I forget?) one of my roles was to monitor house building.  A key task was to identify every site with planning permission for residential development and see whether development had actually occurred – the previous regime was so inept that they thought there were 1100-odd under construction, when the real figure was just 89.  “So what?”, you may ask.  Well, it confused the West Midlands County Council statisticians and is one reason why Clayhanger was swamped by 900-odd new homes (could have been 1,500, but for some astute negotiation).

Among the many single-plot proposals was “Rear of 60 Howdles Lane”.  This looked a no -hoper and eventually, when I took over the policy aspects of residential development and there was no action after 20 years or so, I dropped it from the figures.  Now I see there is a new application and some boards have been erected along the Howdles Lane frontage of the back garden to number 60.  So, 35 years on, it looks as though the owners are serious about going ahead.

Details of the proposed development can be found on the Walsall Council website here (ref 17/0803).

As I said, planning is largely invisible to most of us.  Unless it is under your nose.

The tenuous family history connection is that, before number 60, the land was occupied by two ancient cottages that may have been home to my great grandfather Joseph Carter, and his rather troubled daughter Eunice.

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