View from the House: Councils must be allowed to make planning decisions
PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 October 2020
The government is pushing through Parliament its proposals to rip up the planning system.
This might on the face of it seem like an unimportant piece of tidying up some regulations that will not affect our everyday lives. The reality is vastly different.
Under the Conservative government’s proposals places such as Havering will be described as “Growth areas”, meaning developers’ plans will be automatically given the green light. The local council and community will have no say.
I might have disagreements with Conservative-controlled Havering Council, and believe me I have plenty, but I prefer to put my trust in locally-elected people who are at least accountable to the communities they should serve, rather than bureaucrats in Whitehall.
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This developers’ charter will result in over and inappropriate development and certainly mean far less really affordable homes for local people.
The only winners will be fat cat building companies, money men and their friends in government.
These badly thought through ideas will have long lasting consequences and impacts on local communities like Rainham and South Hornchurch.
This takes nothing away from the pressing national need for 300,000 new homes a year, with 100,000 being council or housing association homes at rents that are really affordable.
But I question the geographical distribution.
It’s also essential that alongside new homes come new schools, health centres and good quality recreational spaces. Again, the government’s plans will not deliver these. I will be working with colleagues in Parliament and locally in South Havering to make sure it’s local people, through their councils, that set plans for their future. That’s the right way.
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