More on Andrew McLeod

Letters Editor Herald Sun,  Melbourne (by email).  16th February 2012.

Dear Sir/Madam,
 
Andrew Macleod, outgoing director of the Committee for Melbourne, thinks Barry Humphries should not comment on planning because he doesn’t have any qualifications in the area (Herald Sun, 16 Feb 2012). As far as I am aware, Mr. MacLeod has no qualifications in planning either. Nor do most members of the Committee for Melbourne.
 
Qualified planners have made many mistakes in the past: think of the inner city ‘slum clearance’ programs of the 1960s, or the old Gas and Fuel buildings. Planners tend to make worse mistakes when they stop listening to the community.
 
The best-planned cities in the world are those where citizens are actively involved in deciding planning questions. As well as being more democratic, genuine public participation produces better planning, because it forces planners to justify their proposals. This reduces the likelihood that they will make mistakes.
 
Melbourne needs more people like Geoffrey Rush, Barry Humphries and Mary Drost, and more planners who are prepared to share power with the public. We also need less bullying from amateur and professional planners who have become too close to the development lobby.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Dr. Paul Mees
Senior lecturer in urban planning
Royal Melbourne Institute of technology
360 LaTrobe Street
Melbourne 3000.
and one more…………..
Barry Humphries is a celebrity because of his keen observation and ability to show people and places in a humorous light. He is eminently qualified to have a view on planning matters in his suburb of origin especially judging from his witty poem about the city planner.  Humphries is not just a dilettante as implied by Andrew MacLeod (Celebrity heritage protesters should butt out of planning issues, says lobbyist HS 16/2)
Civic minded residents such as Mary Drost are an essential force in mitigating adverse changes in established suburbs. Andrew Macleod of the “Committee for Melbourne” seems to have forgotten the concept of democracy and actually contradicts himself in saying that Mrs. Drost is selfish to attempt to preserve gardens for people other than herself!
Jill Quirk