Eric Pickles leaves his discretely-signed office at the Department for Communities and Local Government

Oh Eric, remember the glee when you announced the destruction of the regional tier of the Development Plan back in the summer of 2010?

“Communities will no longer have to endure the previous government’s failed Soviet tractor style top-down planning targets…”

But oh dear Eric, here we are two years on and we are still enduring the Regional Spatial Strategies. Your armour is tarnished and dented and your bravado with it. But still the multi-headed beast lives on!

The story here seems to be a case of act in haste and repent at leisure – in this case a long and leisurely process of consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the abolition of each RSS. And now Pickles, burned once by the European Directive requiring these, has come over ultra-cautious and is revisiting the assessments published in October and re-consulting upon each for an eight week period. They are kicking off with the East of England Regional Strategy SEA published Wednesday and being consulted upon until 20 September.

The question is when will the heads finally begin to roll? Before this year is out?