Labour MPs have tabled a debate motion and vote this afternoon in a move to gain cross-party support for watering down the government’s forthcoming planning bill.
The new bill is expected to follow the Planning for the Future white paper published last year where land would be earmarked for either growth or development.
Shadow communities and local government secretary Steve Reed said: “Good development can only happen when developers and communities work together.”
Currently, residents can raise their concerns about new housing when a local plan is drawn up and when an individual application goes in. The new bill would get rid of the second opportunity for raising any objections.
Mr Reed has described it as a ‘developers’ charter’ that would prevent local residents from having their say.
“Developers will be set loose to bulldoze and concrete over neighbourhoods and green spaces at will.”
But the National Federation of Builders, NFB, has accused Labour of not understanding how homes get built.
NFB head of housing and planning Rico Wojtulewicz said: “There is no developers charter, just a failing system which councils of all party colours enable.
“Labour has made no effort to ensure the upcoming planning reforms deliver better outcomes, they are simply seeking to profit off the flawed debate around it to win votes.”
Private members bill to strengthen residents ‘right to be heard’
Labour is hoping Conservative backbenchers will support their motion following the Tory’s defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election. Opposition to HS2 and more relaxed planning laws were believed to have been a factor in the Liberal Democrats victory.
Labour is planning a private member’s bill to guarantee “communities’ right to object to planning applications that threaten their local area”.
The planning and local representation bill will allow anyone making representations on a planning application the “right to be heard”. It would give the public the right to be consulted on all forms of development for at least 21 days.
Labour wants regulation to prevent land-banking with a ‘use it lose it’ rule where developers who wait too long to build would lose their right to do so.
Bridging finance brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders wanted the planning process to be speedier and were behind moves to digitise operations to provide a speedier service.
Labour claims Conservative Party has received £11m in donations from developers in the first year of Boris Johnson’s premiership and £891,000 in the first three months of 2021.