Re: Planning conundrum
Absolutely Yes !
IIRC, the planning system is one of the last vestiges of the post-war Socialist nationalization program. The government nationalized your right to develop your own property as you saw fit and imposed a planning system that would allocate permissions as needed in the brave new world. Over time, this mutated into a system for saying "no" to most development and has thus created the market distortions that we see today. Why are houses so eye-wateringly expensive? Mainly because we have restricted the supply (that and increased the demand with increased immigration).
My personal experience with council planners is that they have a weird form of jargon-speak (e.g. "harm to the openness of the countryside") and are quite happy to lie and deceive when it suits them in order to reach the desired "no" answer.
(but we did defeat them and got our modest extension approved - Yes !)