Today I voted in the House of Commons to block the hated Developers’ Charter, a Government plan to hand control over planning decisions to developers and gag communities from speaking out against inappropriate developments in their area.
In an Opposition Day Debate today we called a vote to protect local people’s right to object to individual planning applications, after the Government announced plans to rip up the planning system in the Queen’s Speech.
The Government’s proposed reforms of the planning system will remove powers from elected local representatives and hand them to Whitehall-appointed boards of developers while doing nothing to solve the growing affordable housing crisis.
Boards will oversee a new zonal system that allows developers to build at will in areas designated for growth. Communities will be consulted only in the development of five-yearly local plans and will be gagged from intervening in individual planning applications.
Conservative Ministers have claimed that the reforms are needed to speed up housebuilding, even though over one million planning permissions have not been built out in the last decade.
By refusing to vote with Labour, the Conservatives have shown communities whose side they’re on: the wealthy developers that increasingly bankroll their party.
Under the Developers’ Charter, Boris Johnson’s wealthy developer chums will be set loose to bulldoze and concrete over local neighbourhoods at will. Local residents will be gagged from objecting even if an oversized development threatens to blight their own street.
Labour believes that good development can only happen when developers and communities work together, but the Developers Charter hands control to developers in what looks like payback for their massive increase in donations to the Conservative Party.