This is a question asked by residents as they combine to fight unwanted developments.
The Odeon, Kensington High Street was one example of campaigners trying to battle the billionaire Ritblat family to save the cinema: Capco and Earls Court another.
The Ritblat's and others of their ilk, use their millions to bully residents into submission.
They employ top lawyers, PR's and planning consultants to manipulate the Planning Department.....and they usually win.
These developers pay vast fees to the Council for pre-planning 'advice' so it means they can build up a cozy relationship. All too often the planning officer thinks he's employed by the developer!
For the planning officer, there is always the possibility of being offered a job by one of the planning consultancies.
It's not a level playing field and residents fight with their hands tied behind their back.
So, how can the Council level out the playing field?
A simple solution. Allocate 50% of fees generated by pre-planning advice to campaigning groups....it's only fair.