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Action Group condemns proposed changes to planning law

News / Mon 16th Nov 2020 at 09:39am

Action Group Condemns Proposed Changes to Planning Law

PROPOSED changes to planning law have been condemned as “an attack on local democracy” and a “developers’ charter” by Harlow Coronavirus People Before Profit Action Group. The government has announced changes to existing planning regulations and has also published a White Paper called Planning for the Future that proposes a far-reaching revision of planning law. 

If the proposals in the White Paper become law, then the right of elected local councils to decide on planning applications will be greatly reduced, if not abolished altogether.  The Action Group says that the proposed changes will prevent the creation of stable, secure, diverse, and sustainable communities, and access to secure housing for all.

“Everyone has the right to secure, decent, affordable housing”, said former Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow Laura McAlpine, speaking on behalf of the Action Group, “but these proposed changes to planning legislation will not achieve this objective. The government is using the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for relaxing the obligations on developers to build affordable housing. Research commissioned by the Local Government Association shows that the new proposals would lead to 6,000 fewer affordable homes being created each year.” 

“Millions of private renters across the UK are being ripped-off by greedy landlords, because there is a lack of council housing,” Ms McAlpine continued. “Families are being housed in old office blocks like Terminus House, which are simply not fit for purpose. These proposals will make it even easier for developers to create more of these monstrous office block conversions, but this type of accommodation should be prohibited altogether. I believe that the government should make public housing available to everyone by funding councils to build and renovate good quality housing. Housing is a right, not a privilege.”

The Coronavirus Action Group urges the Labour Party to continue to advocate its General Election Manifesto policy of 2019 of building 100,000 new council homes a year, and suggests that this policy should be the basis of the party’s approach over the coming period.

The Group calls for a broad campaign under the slogans “Say No to No Say on Planning” and “Ditch the Developers’ Charter”. It wishes to both raise public awareness of the Conservative government’s planning proposals, and to build a united opposition to them, including campaign groups such as Homes for All, the professional groups that have raised objections, local authorities, and People Before Profit action groups. 

More information on the proposed changes can be found on the Facebook page of the Harlow Coronavirus People Before Profit Action Group at: 

https://www.facebook.com/HarlowCoronavirusPeopleBeforeProfitActionGroup

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