Group opposing overdevelopment in Havering launches petition against planning reform proposals

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 November 2020

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Andrew Achilleos.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Andrew Achilleos.

Andrew Achilleos

A pressure group headed by Jon Cruddas MP and councillor Graham Williamson has launched a petition against the government’s planning reform proposals.

South Hornchurch ward councillor Graham Williamson. Picture: Graham WilliamsonSouth Hornchurch ward councillor Graham Williamson. Picture: Graham Williamson

The Recorder reported last month that the pair were intending to form a steering group opposing overdevelopment.

The group, called Preserve, has now been launched and is being chaired by Dagenham and Rainham MP Mr Cruddas, South Hornchurch ward representative Cllr Williamson and Andrew Curtin of Romford Civic Society.

At a press conference, it was revealed that the group has set up a petition opposing the proposed government planning reforms, with Cllr Williamson labelling them as a “developer’s charter”.

The government’s proposals include binding housing targets that councils would have to deliver through their local plan.

It also set out the introduction of growth areas suitable for substantial development where outline planning permission would automatically be granted for specified types of development.

The group’s petition said: “We don’t want Havering to become as urbanised as an inner London borough with existing and new residents competing to use shrinking services.

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“We urge the government not to make changes that threaten our quality of life.”

Mr Cruddas, who previously revealed the campaign is not party political, said: “It’s not an anti-development thing - this is a question of good development versus bad development and we are worried about the direction of travel.

“We think it is incumbent on us all to come together to raise the profile of these issues and actually launch the petition to register people’s concerns.

“I think people are pleased that this is not just a political football. This is actually something that we’re all trying to work together on.

“Our idea is to get as many people as possible - organisations, individuals whatever their political affiliation - because I think this transcends alot of the local political divisions that we usually operate in.”

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “What we are proposing are not targets, they would provide a guide for councils on how many homes may be needed in their area.

“This would be the first stage in the process and, as before, environmental considerations like the green belt and land availability will be taken into account.

“We have consulted on the proposals and will reflect on the feedback received so we can deliver the homes we need, where we need them.”

To sign the petition, visit

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