The independent London newspaper

Easier ride for developers will undermine democracy

08 October, 2020

Neighbours came together to fight a development in Little Green Street in Kentish Town

• IF the government’s proposal to change planning laws gets passed it will give wealthy developers the right to ride roughshod over the wishes of communities, by eroding local democracy throughout the country, (Planning blackout: How YOU could be left in the dark, October 1).

It intends to scrap the existing planning laws, which require the public to be notified in the local press and by postings near new construction developments and replace this by an online-notification only.

If this was to go ahead, it could mean that thousands of voices in each neighbourhood who do not own or have access to computers will be eliminated; leaving them unable to exercise their democratic rights and to participate in the crucial decision making for their environment; which could include health and safety issues.

But the government wants to speed things up for developers by avoiding as much scrutiny as possible.

It is no coincidence that the housing minister, Robert Jenrick, who last January got caught giving unlawful support to a billionaire associate developer of an East End project – against the advice of his planning inspector – is spearheading this law change.

Any government forcing this type of law on its people, purely in the interest of a few wealthy developers, can no longer claim to be democratic; at best it would be “plutocracy” masquerading as such.

Queen’s Crescent, NW5


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