Ben Lowry: Good news – Wells and Wilson to stand

Jim Wells

Jim Wells

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It is good to see two veteran politicians running for Stormont again: Jim Wells and Brian Wilson.

One is standing in South Down (for the DUP) while the other, Wilson, is standing in North Down (as an independent, after stints in Alliance and the Greens)

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

Both are older – Wells is approaching 60 and Wilson is over 70 – and the Assembly needs experience.

And both men are passionately opposed to one of the worst environmental blights on this island – the proliferation of bungalows.

Both Wells and Wilson have been dismayed at the way in which we have allowed our countryside to be trashed by that planning free-for-all.

They are in a small minority at Stormont. Support for minimal planning restrictions on single dwellings has cross-party backing.

It has cross-border backing too. That is why you see homes sprout up almost everywhere you turn in the countryside, north or south, with no sympathy for the landscape.

Such haphazard planning would not be tolerated in England or France or the northeast of the United States, despite the fact that America is seen as a place of unfettered, rapacious capitalism. Planning regulations can be tight in New England, as it should be in all well-run societies.

Wells was turned into a pariah for his blunt views on same-sex matters, but he is a complex, unpredictable, smart – and hard working – man.

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