The Mayor of Hackney has hit out at Government planning reform proposals, which risks allowing developers to deliver fewer genuinely affordable homes, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
In the letter to the Government, the Mayor has expressed strong opposition to the planning proposals, warning that they are undemocratic, removing local control and accountability and hindering the Councils’ ability to deliver genuinely affordable housing; a view that is shared across London and wider Local Government.
Mayor Glanville said:
“We are in an unprecedented housing crisis, with 13,000 families in Hackney on the housing waiting list, 3000 of them in temporary accommodation and the proposals brought forward by the Government does little to address this large demand nor provide us with the funding or infrastructure to help deliver the homes so desperately needed in our borough.
“I helped to successfully lead the local opposition to previous attempts to impose detrimental planning reforms on Hackney in 2016 when similar ideas were last proposed. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. Reheating Starter Homes won’t help us deliver the genuinely affordable housing we need, nor help us ‘build back better’.
“After 10 years and countless housing ministers, we have a Government still blaming the planning system for their own failure to invest in the genuinely affordable homes our country needs.
“The Government needs to work with ─ and not undermine ─ local authorities and provide us with the tools to deliver genuinely affordable new homes. If the Government fails to heed the chorus of voices from across business and local government condemning their latest planning proposals, they will be responsible for leaving an unpleasant legacy for our future generations and will have failed in levelling up our country.”
Labour has emphasised to the Tory Government that Hackney delivers an efficient and effective Planning Service, it is successful in delivering new homes and the infrastructure needed to support a growing community; it has enabled the timely delivery of a new Local Plan, LP33, new housing, new workspaces, genuinely affordable homes and workspaces, enabled the creation of jobs and delivered community infrastructure.
Cllr Guy Nicholson
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, commented: “Our response to Government places positive and constructive engagement with residents and communities at the heart of this success and that it must continue going forward.
“The Government’s proposals not only place the future sustainable growth of the borough in doubt, but also run the risk of alienating and disenfranchising residents and communities from the plan-making and decision-taking process.
“The Council has made a very strong case in opposition to those White Paper proposals that seek to centralise these processes, depriving residents and communities their right to part in the planning process.
“We are calling for maintaining levels of participation in the whole Planning process both in terms of policy development and determination and we see this as an attack on local democracy and the democratic process.
“We do not support the proposed ‘centralisation’ of Planning. Centralisation that would enable central Government to push aside Local Government and communities.
“We also argue that central Government is not equipped to shape local development that meets the needs of a community, including infrastructure planning and delivery; we can and have demonstrated in our response that we deliver sustainable development that delivers sustainable regeneration for Hackney.”
Cllr Nicholson continued: “We also set out concerns about a range of other aspects of the proposals including the proposed ‘zonal’ approach to development and type, the proposals about a new ‘Infrastructure Levy’ and the implications on Local Government finance, the proposals about environmental impact and quality, and the deliberate omission of any regional spatial Planning context – in our case no city wide ‘London Plan’ led by a Mayor of London with the Boroughs feeding in.
“We are committed to continue to work with residents and communities and to combat the adverse impacts of climate change.
Making a place in the borough for nature and securing biodiversity net gain provides a solid foundation for addressing this globally important issue.
“It is absurd that the Government’s proposals to build beautiful and sustainable places fails to take any account of this matter.”
You can find the formal response to Government on the Council’s website here,
along with a press statement and (below) are letters to the Minister from the Mayor Glanville and Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, and from the Chair of Planning, Cllr Vincent Stops..
The Government White Paper can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future
8 November 2020