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: 


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1 Comment for Action Group condemns proposed changes to planning law:

2020-11-17 09:56:25

The whole picture on planning housing, transport, industry and infrastructure is a piecemeal mess. What is needed is the kind of vision that created Harlow and other new towns post war and a massive increase in building green quality Council homes. England needs around 6 new towns to be built. In filling and expansion of existing towns beyond design spec destroys them and degrades the quality of life. Most existing house stock is far from green and that needs fixing. Local development via Council and County planning is difficult generally they seem to be overloaded and unhelpful so changes are needed. Developers should be heavily taxed when they buy and sit on land without building on it and local Councils given the power to purchase land upon which private and public housing can be built, the private housing being lease hold only so that the Councils can recoup investment and have a long term income return. Houses and residences that remain unoccupied for more than 5 years should be compulsorily purchased and all rented property subject to rent control (as once was) . Transport traffic roads equally need a new approach driving and dualling roads into towns like Gilden Way isn't the answer such development increases pollution and congestion: providing excellent park and ride around the perimeter of towns NESW would be a solution. What's lacking is a National plan and vision here, people need decent affordable housing as a right wherever they live. A Massive increase in truly affordable public housing in London and other cities and a tax on foreign property investors will naturally flatten the exorbitant rents in such cities and allow keyworkers to live where they work. The problem is that there are still fat cats living off the backs of the working population taking excessive profits and perpetuating poverty.

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