Wednesday 30 September 2020 / 10:30 PM Housing / Mike Amesbury

Labour urges Tory MPs to vote down legislation that will create new generation of slums and destroy high streets

Labour urges Conservative MPs to vote down Developers’ Charter that will create new generation of slums and destroy high streets

Labour has secured a vote in the House of Commons on controversial legislation that will stop local people objecting to inappropriate developments in their street.

Ministers rushed through three statutory instruments, which can be passed into law without a vote by MPs, ahead of the Summer recess. The legislation would remove the need for planning permission, so that:

  • Some blocks of flats could have up to two storeys added for new homes
  • Empty residential and commercial buildings in high streets could be demolished and rebuilt as housing
  • Homes could be extended upwards by two storeys

The statutory instruments are the first of the Government’s proposed reforms of the planning system, amounting to a new “Developers’ Charter” that will remove powers from communities and hand them to Whitehall-appointed boards of developers.

Leaseholder groups have also criticised the legislation, stating that it would make it more expensive for leaseholders to buy their freeholds at a time when the Government has promised to legislate to make it cheaper to do so.

The reforms were announced just weeks after the Westferry Printworks Development Scandal, in which the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick unlawfully approved a £1 billion development for Conservative donor Richard Desmond, saving him tens of millions of pounds due in tax.

It was later revealed that the Conservative Party has received more than £11m from property developers since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

Mike Amesbury MP, Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning, said:

“This is the first stage of an atrocious new Developers’ Charter, which will wrench power away from local people and into the hands of the developers that bankroll the Tories.

“Passing this legislation will kill off our high streets, hobble leaseholders and create a new generation of slum housing – and there will be nothing local people can do to stop it.

“If Tory MPs vote through this legislation, they will permanently silence local voices and show their communities that it’s not just Robert Jenrick who is in the pockets of developers.