Barnet’s Labour councillors have launched two petitions against schemes by the Conservative Government to radically overhaul the planning system and dilute protections of the Green Belt in the London Plan.

The Government’s consultation document ‘Planning for the Future’ published last week will lead to massive overdevelopment in our area without proper local oversight, democracy or accountability. The scheme will allow:

  • fewer affordable homes from developer contributions with the current exemption on developments under 10 homes to be extended temporarily to developments under 40 or 50 homes
  • automatic planning permission for all development in designated ‘growth’ areas if plans meet certain criteria
  • planning permission granted in principle for all development in designated ‘renewal’ areas, subject only to basic checks
  • local communities to be side-lined and only able to input on early iterations of development plans

The Government has also proposed amendments to the London Plan that will dilute protections to Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land.

The two schemes together represent an attack on the suburbs and green spaces.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “These proposals are a Tory overdevelopment charter and must be opposed.

“Barnet is increasingly under threat from Tory overdevelopment, but these new plans will drive a coach and horses through local accountability and side-line our community without providing the genuinely affordable housing and funding for infrastructure Barnet so badly needs.

“The Tory Government has already imposed a massive 75% increase in Barnet’s housing target. The Council and Mayor of London had agreed 2,364 units a year for 15 years, but the Tory Government say it must be 4,126 units a year.

“This is the second highest housing target in England and must be followed by both the Council and the Mayor.

“Together with these newly announced planning proposals it will mean even more massive tower blocks, and with Government proposed amendments to the London Plan that dilute protections of the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, could also mean development on Green Belt and other green spaces.

“Planning under this Tory Government is a disaster, and our once green and pleasant borough will be ruined under these proposals.

“We challenge the Barnet Tories to join us in vociferously opposing these plans – anything less will be a betrayal of their local election manifesto which purported to be against overdevelopment.”

Childs Hill Labour councillor and London Assembly candidate for Barnet & Camden, Anne Clarke said: “The proposed planning changes from the Conservatives will benefit developers at the expense of our green spaces and local democracy.

“If areas like Cricklewood, Finchley Central, Edgware and East Barnet are declared ‘growth areas’ then developments proposed in these areas like the B&Q site and East Barnet gas works would be given automatic planning permission without any local democratic input.

“High housing targets and reduced protection for our parks and Metropolitan Open Land is a disaster for communities and our environment. This needs an urgent rethink.”

Ends.

Notes:

  1. For more information and to sign the petitions go to:

https://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/2020/08/13/stop-the-government-overdevelopment-charter/

https://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/2020/07/30/help-protect-our-metropolitan-open-land-from-destruction

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