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Hertsmere Labor Party attacks town-planning reform proposals UK News

Labor Hertsmere has denounced plans which it says prevent locals from opposing developments.

Its leader Jeremy Newmark has joined with Shadow Communitys secretary Steve Reed in condemning the so-called developer charter which they say will “prevent” residents from having a say.

Tory Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers also urged ministers to use the Tories’ recent by-election defeat at Chesham & Amersham as “an opportunity to rethink their approach to planning reform”.

With a goal of building 300,000 new homes a year in England, government ministers want to overhaul the planning system, arguing that reforms would boost the construction of high-quality, sustainable housing, streamlining the process and cutting red tape.

the Guardian reports that Boris Johnson’s planning reforms include removing planning committees from development decisions and making it easier to obtain automatic consent.

Some fear that the land in the green belt, which represents 80% of Hertsmere, will be “concreted” as part of the reforms.

In an opposition debate on June 21, the National Labor Party called for a vote to protect the right of people to oppose individual planning demands.

Almost all Conservative MPs refused to participate in Labor’s motion, including Hertsmere MP and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Following the motion, Cllr Newmark said: “The people of Hertsmere should have a say in what happens in our community – this is a basic tenet of our democracy.

“We have to build more houses, but it has to be done the right way. The Tories’ Developer Charter is a plan to prevent the local people from opposing bad developments in our area and even giving some of their more big donors more power to get plans over our heads.

“This means that we are all losing the right to prevent horrible monstrosities from appearing in our towns and villages – from green spaces to playgrounds to the countryside, nothing would be out of place.

“It is amazing that Oliver Dowden and this Conservative government are pursuing this plan. In Parliament, the Conservatives had the chance to show that they listened to the overwhelming opposition to their plan.

“Instead, they showed they were determined to keep going anyway.”

Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed MP said: “Voters have made it clear that they don’t like the Conservative government’s Developer Charter, but despite the fact that many Tory MPs have said they support the residents’ right to have a say in developments on their doorstep, they refused to vote for it.

“The Developer Charter will gag the public and let wealthy developers drop concrete on local neighborhoods and green spaces at will.”

Cllr Newmark added that the reforms “do nothing to address the affordable housing crisis”.

At a Hertfordshire County Council meeting last week, councilors agreed that Conservative Executive Member for Growth, Infrastructure and Planning Stephen Boulton should write to Hertfordshire MPs to voice concerns about proposals for reform of the planning system.

Last week Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said planning reforms were “misinterpreted”.

He told the Andrew Marr show: “Our policy has very often been very frankly misinterpreted. At no point has this proposal been to suddenly and indiscriminately tinker with the campaign.”

Oliver Dowden’s office has been contacted for comment.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-28 17:00:00

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