So, how is government reform of the planning system getting on?
And to be fair, they are pretty good. The changes allow businesses to make minor tweaks to their property without a full planning application, something CLG says should take 10,000 applications out of the system each year, allow councils to target resources on larger schemes and save businesses £43m a year.
This is in addition to £120m of savings from "cutting the amount of information required in planning applications and making planning permissions more flexible".
"This will give businesses a much needed helping hand during the economic recovery," said housing and planning minister John Healey. Hooray.
Understandably of course, he didn't mention that this 10,000 applications-a-year saving could be wiped out by CLG's tightening of planning rules to discourage so-called houses in multiple occupation, where several unrelated tenants share a home.
Signed by Healey, a much less-trumpeted impact assessment published on 8 March says the changes to HMOs could add between 2,000 and 15,000 applications to the system, and cost councils and applicants up to £21m, each year. Oh.
And no "much needed helping hand during the economic recovery" for small landlords, then.
Manchester United captain Gary Neville has reportedly angered hundreds of villagers with plans to build a "Teletubby" style eco-home near Bolton.
Residents packed into a public meeting last night arguing that plans for the 8,000 sq ft property - a flower-shaped underground bunker - are inappropriate in the green belt.
"Why do we have to have this dirty great big house because he has lots of money? This could mean there will be future Teletubby houses," one claimed, confusingly.
The prospect of round men in brightly-coloured jumpsuits being given free rein of the Lancashire green belt is of course terrifying, and not only in planning terms.
Despite this threat, Bolton council's planning committee is more likely to consider whether Neville's application meets the "exceptional development" test for building on the green belt when it is heard on 1 April.
Still, if anyone wants to lobby for a "Teletubby test" then do get in touch.
The dust has settled on the maelstrom of comment that has followed the publication of the Conservative's planning_green_paper.
The main points have been re-hashed in several sources so I won't repeat them here; this round-up from planning consultancy PPS is one of several that covers all the bases fairly comprehensively.
There's no doubt the green paper is a radical document. Re-writing national planning policy, scrapping regional targets and giving local residents the chance to appeal planning consents - while scaling back developers' rights to appeal - is top to bottom reform, and points at a brave new world for industry under a Tory administration.
But has much of the response been predictably sensible: lots of "we welcome this in principle, but..." as queasy looking commentators try not to alienate themselves from the likely next government?
If so, it would seem there is no such need for nose pegs, or phrases such as "thought-provoking" and "real opportunities", among the legal profession, which this week revealed a hitherto unappreciated talent for plain speaking.
"Abolition, abolition, abolition - the extent of repeal of recent Labour reforms is huge," shouted Pinsent Masons head of planning Richard Ford, bandying about phrases like "white knuckle ride" and warning of an "over-zealous lurch to localism" following Labour's "perhaps over-zealous lurch" to the centre.
And has Mills & Reeve partner Beverley Firth had an "emperor's new clothes moment" with her criticism of the use of "voluntary agreements", where developers agree to provide certain local benefits in return for planning permission?
"This is in direct conflict with a central tenet of the UK planning system: that planning permission must not be bought or sold," she harrumphed.
Is it? Not a formally-trained planner, I had assumed that developers agreeing to provide certain local benefits in return for planning permission was utterly commonplace - a well-worn dance played out from district councils to City Hall pretty much every day.
If it's not allowed, shouldn't we, erm, tell someone?
In something of a victory for the property industry, ministers have again overhauled the workings of the community infrastructure levy, but this time into something that (whisper it) may be vaguely workable.
This a mere five years after its predecessor, the planning gain supplement, was first mooted and a full six weeks before CIL is launched in April.
Still, there are some pretty significant changes in the new regulations published yesterday - not least an exemptions process for otherwise unviable schemes, although this will put developers at the mercy of local councils on the one hand and, strangely, the European Union on the other, with central government presumably a happy bystander.
The British Property Federation has put together a useful summary of the changes that can be found here.
Interestingly, to this blog anyway, a government impact assessment estimates CIL will raise between £4.1bn and £6bn over the next 10 years, assuming it is charged by 65 to 78% of local authorities.
Is this realistic? The Greater London Authority will definitely be keen, given that CIL has been earmarked to fund £300m towards Crossrail, but what of the rest?
A clue is provided by Drivers Jonas research published this week, which found just 20% of councils are planning to introduce the levy, with 63% unsure and 17% stating they would not...
Add your musings on the new CIL regs below the line.
There is still no sign of the Conservatives' nascent planning policies as yet another expected due date slips past.
Observers fear the party's shadow team is now running out of time before a rapidly-approaching election forces them to take up arms on the campaign trail.
Widely expected to be published on Monday, industry sources suggest the green paper is undergoing a certain amount of "redrafting" in light of informal responses to policies trailed in the media in recent weeks, although the party itself has denied this and says the delay is simply down to finding the right launch date.
If rumours of last minute changes are true, it must surely put an end to the idea that third-party rights of appeal could be introduced - after all, that way gridlock lies.
What would stop, say, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which lobbied for the change, or nimbys (or even rival developers) from challenging every even-slightly contentious planning consent? Industry will argue that "front-loading" the system with better consultation will create a more democratic outcome, rather than resorting to planning by appeal.
In other green paper news, several industry bods have it on good authority that a CIL replacement is being worked up, although this may be a bit high-level to make it into the green paper.
As for what will be included, it's probably best to refer back to what Bob Neill told an RTPI seminar in December, covered exclusively by this blog here.
Or so says the government's National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, which has analysed data from 900 sites that were approved for major residential schemes in 2005-2006.
Its study of 45 English local authorities found "trophy developments", which presumably often go ahead with local authority support, and also those for social housing, tend to go through development control faster than other planning applications.
The process takes longer however in more affluent boroughs (better resourced nimbys?) and in hung councils, reaffirming the view that local politics plays a significant role in planning.
Oh, and judged against government targets, planning goes slowly almost everywhere. The study found an average determination period of 43 weeks compared with the government's 13 week-target.
What do you think? Has anything changed four years on?
Three of London's largest schemes are in line for the dubious title of "2010 Worst Planning Decision", in an annual competition run by the London Assembly chair, Darren Johnson.
But who will take the gong, or rather the inscribed breeze block that will no doubt remain uncollected by the winner, come March?
The runners are:
* Brent Cross Cricklewood in Barnet developed by Brookfield Europe, Hammerson and Standard Life Investments, which Johnson (that's Darren, not Boris) claims will "create a surge in traffic and air pollution".
* Commercial Estates Group's Columbus Tower in Tower Hamlets, which Boris consented "against the local council's wishes, apparently because Crossrail money was at stake".
* Or will it be Berkeley Homes' regeneration of the Ferrier Estate in Greenwich, which under the mayor's guidance will "slash the number of social rented homes from 1,730 to 730 in a London borough with 13,486 households on its waiting list".
Aside from the fact that all this is simply designed to embarrass the mayor and (sort of successfully) garner publicity for the Green Party, are these really the worst planning decisions that London has to offer? And what about the rest of the UK?
Thoughts please below the line...
It seems that not everyone is happy with Conservative party plans to hand back planning powers to councillors.
The formation of the new group, members of which include Land Securities and Countryside Properties, marks a change of tack within the industry, which gave a guarded, "in principle" welcome to Conservative planning policy through the British Property Federation last year.
So what will the new group do that the BPF is not already, considering they're likely to be having similar conversations with the same shadow ministers?
Emma Cariaga, head of strategic projects at Land Securities, said the group wanted a national planning framework that could inform local decision-making, a new presumption in favour of development and for "applications to be treated fairly and judged on merit, not on the basis of instincts or political whims".
Doesn't seem a lot to ask does it?
At a Bow Group/RTPI conference at Portcullis House last night he described how national and sub-national planning frameworks would replace regional spatial strategies.
And he said that councils would still have a responsibility to deliver new homes, including affordable housing.
Based on what was said last night, expect something along these lines in the Green Paper "around Christmas" (so January, then):
* A new National Planning Framework to include re-written National Policy Statements on infrastructure, as well as a revised set of planning policy statements and "proper standards on sustainability, design and building standards".
* An obligation on councils to continue to draw up housing need assessments and five-year land supply figures. These will be based on existing estimates made for the current round of RSSs as "a reasonable interim starting point".
* Cooperation between councils when drawing up local development frameworks at a "sub-national" level, likely to be county councils and city regions, to align infrastructure and regeneration.
* Flexibility in land use classes, allowing landlords to more easily respond to market conditions.
* The creation of Local Authority Trusts with the power to fast-track development through the planning system.
Expect more details in the New Year...