The importance of context struck me last weekend when my daughter and I saw "Legally Blonde" at the Savoy Theatre. In it there is a scene where Elle, our heroine, is invited to a party by a girl who doesn't like her and she tells Elle that it is a costume party. Elle makes a grand entrance in a pink bunny outfit - only to find that everyone else is in jeans. Context is all - had this been a costume party she would have been perfectly dressed, but as it was she did not fit in and lost face in front of her peers.

I have spoken to a couple of people this week who commented on how much they had enjoyed Christine's blog "the arrow of time in localism" and how concerned they were about the loss of the strategic planning layer of development planning. Although we are to expect some changes to the "duty to cooperate" when the Localism Bill is reprinted (expected shortly), it is difficult to see how this can go far enough.

To be effective at all, localism needs context and the local level of development plans have taken their lead from RS (and previously County Structure Plans). They will have been assessed against that context and their soundness will have been judged in that context.

When RS falls, that calls into question immediately those existing and in many cases recently adopted local development plan documents. Post RS, those local DPDs will have lost their context - and this leaves those local policies weakened and vulnerable to the threat of other material considerations in planning decisions.