Labour pledges to stop Tories 'killing' communities
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing
Labour councillors in Westminster have unveiled their planning manifesto for the coming council elections, and have pledged to stop the borough's incumbent Conservatives from "killing" communities.
Labour says that the ruling Tories have given planning permission for a "huge number" of luxury apartments where "very few people live", and have encouraged the creation of developments where there "is no life, no economic benefit, no community benefit".
In its manifesto, the party is pledging to:
• Revise the council’s planning policies to outlaw the construction of ‘mega-basement’ excavations.
• Strengthen planning policies to protect local pubs from conversion to luxury housing.
• Require developers to pay section 106 planning gain contributions towards healthcare and education where appropriate.
• Require 'overage' payments on any off-site affordable housing contributions so that rising house prices lead to increased funding for affordable housing.
• Mount a compulsory purchase order on the enormous site on Edgware Road which the Conservatives have left underused for over 20 years.
• Tighten the affordable housing guidelines in new building applications. Viability arguments made by developers will only be accepted if they will be made public.
• Allow members of the public and applicants to speak at planning committee meetings.
Councillor Barbara Grahame, Labour's planning spokesperson, said: “It is time for Westminster residents to claim back their city. The Conservatives have let Westminster become a ‘playground for the rich’, where there is no place for people on low or middle incomes.
"They have encouraged developments with no on-site affordable housing and at the same they have been letting developers off paying the full amount for off-site housing. Hundreds of millions of pounds have been lost to the public.”
“Again and again, Westminster Conservatives have given the green light for more luxury flats and have banished affordable homes elsewhere, often outside Westminster all together. Building on-site affordable housing is the only way in which Westminster can have lively, thriving communities.
"Building yet more luxury apartments with no homes for people on low or middle incomes will slowly, but surely, kill off Westminster’s communities right across the city.”