Labour is today calling on councillors of all parties to join a Redcar And Cleveland wide campaign to defeat the Conservatives’ planned Developers’ Charter which would prevent local residents from objecting to developers’ plans to build slums, eyesores, or any other form of inappropriate new buildings on their streets, in their communities or on treasured public spaces.
Labour Councillors believe a united front from local representatives can help defeat the reforms. They are calling for a unanimous message from the council to the government, and will place a motion before the next full meeting of the council on 9th September 2021.
The move comes as Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Steve Reed MP has written to every councillor in the country asking them to unite against the proposals.
Answering the call, Labour Leader for Redcar And Cleveland, Carl Quartermain said,
“Nobody who cares about this borough wants this Developers’ Charter. As representatives of this community all councillors must surely unite to oppose these destructive changes that only really serve to benefit Tory donors in the construction industry – which incidentally has increased 400% under Boris Johnson.
“We know we have to build more homes but we’ve got to do it the right way, and local communities have got to have a voice in planning decisions.
“People in Redcar And Cleveland must not lose their right to a fair say over new developments in our streets, our communities and on our playgrounds, parks and fields. Yet that’s exactly what this Conservative Government is planning.
“Councillors must stand together and reject these proposals for the sake of the local residents’ voices to always be heard. I will be writing to all elected members and putting forward the motion at the next opportunity in September. Let’s put the politics to one side and send a clear and unambiguous message –”REDCAR AND CLEVELAND says NO to the Developers’ Charter.” “
Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Steve Reed MP last week wrote to all councillors in Redcar And Cleveland asking to support the motion locally. It states,
“The Government has published highly controversial proposals to reform the planning system. One aspect that has raised particular concern is the proposal to remove local residents’ right to object to individual planning applications in their own neighbourhood if the area is zoned for growth or renewal.
“Last week, the House of Commons called on the Government to protect residents’ right to retain a voice over planning applications, recognizing that the best way to get necessary new homes built is to support communities, councils and developers to work in partnership.
“I attach a copy of the motion passed by the House of Commons with support from MPs of all political parties. I urge you to ask your council to pass the same motion so we can show widespread support for the principle of protecting residents’ right to a say over individual planning applications in their own area. Many local people have already expressed anger that this long-established democratic right is under threat.
“Please let me know if you intend to ask your council to support the motion. I would also welcome other views you may have on the proposed planning reforms and your ideas for how we can best protect the voice of local people and their elected councillors over planning decisions.”
Notes to Editors
· The Conservative Government’s intention to change planning rules to benefit developers were set out in ‘Planning for the Future’ in 2020, and were immediately branded a ‘Developer’s Charter’ by housing campaigners. The plans are due to return to Parliament after this year’s local elections.
The current planning system is locally-led, with councils and the communities they represent given a say over the way their neighbourhoods develop, and all residents given the chance to object to development that is overbearing, impacts on their quality of life, or that is not accompanied by funding for necessary infrastructure (e.g. schools, roads, health services).
· The ‘Developer’s Charter’ proposals would take away the right of local people to comment or object to development in their area, instead allowing the Secretary of State to grant developers planning “permission in principle” without any local consultation on the application. These changes to the planning system would help developers avoid contributions for affordable housing, local infrastructure, and avoid existing standards on good quality design, allowing them to rack up hundreds of millions of pounds extra profit without building any more homes. The Government is already relaxing ‘permitted development’ rules to allow developers to ignore space standards and turn high street shops and offices into homes, none of which have to be affordable.
· The proposals have attracted widespread criticism – except from developers. President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Alan Jones, branded the white paper’s proposals as “shameful”, the Campaign to Protect Rural England voiced concerns about community involvement, and the housing charity Shelter expressed concern at the reforms’ potential impact on social housing.
· 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.
· The Conservative Party received £11 million in donations from developers in Boris Johnson’s first year as Prime Minister and £891,000 from developers in the first three months of 2021 alone.
· The full motion is below:
Local involvement in planning decisions.
Redcar And Cleveland believes planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and therefore calls on the Government to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications.