Local residents will be blocked from objecting to many new developments across Hertsmere after Conservative MP, Oliver Dowden, voted to pass controversial new laws in the House of Commons despite a motion on Wednesday from Shadow Communities Secretary, Mike Amesbury, to set them aside.
Under the new measures developers will be free to add two storeys to existing flats – creating tower blocks in previously low-rise residential neighbourhoods.
They will also be free to demolish temporarily empty shops and convert them into low-quality flats, creating dead areas where shops can never hope to reopen. Home owners will also be allowed to build two storey extensions, invading their neighbours’ privacy and blocking out light – but neighbours will have no right to object as they have previously.
The Conservative Government tried to push through the controversial new laws without going to the House of Commons, but Labour MPs demanded a debate and a vote in a bid to stop local residents losing their say.
Cllr Jeremy Newmark, Labour Group Leader at Hertsmere Borough Council said: “Conservative MPs are selling out our local communities. This is the first stage of an atrocious new developers’ charter, which will snatch power away from local people and place it firmly in the hands of developers, many of whom are donors to the Conservative Party.
“This legislation threatens our high streets, increases densification and allows towering extensions that will invade their neighbours’ privacy – and there will be nothing local people can do to stop it.”
Labour is challenging our Council to make a firm response to this and other proposed changes to the planning system.”
These moves come on top of previous plans to allow developers to convert office blocks into housing without local authority approval and public consultation. The result has been cramped, poor quality housing, often with little daylight.
The Conservatives are planning to bring forward further draconian measures allowing developers to bulldoze and potentially concrete over local communities, with developers given full control and bypassing the planning system with its public consultation.