Three senior London Tory MPs issue warning over Government planning reforms

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the overhaul of the planning system must not be introduced at the “expense of local democracy”.

Ministers want to shake-up planning to make it easier to hit house-building targets but critics argue the proposals will remove the public’s right to be heard in person and strip elected planning committees of decisions.

Despite the backlash, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick doubled down on the plan on Tuesday, saying they have “a duty” to ensure home ownership is a realistic possibility for young people and families.

Sir Bob said he had “a lot of sympathy” for many of the Government’s proposed reforms but they must not come at the expense of the “right of communities” to have a say in how their area is developed.

He told the Commons: “I have a word of caution for the minister about how we approach the role of the individual objector and the role of the local authority in the planning process.

“It is a democratic issue. We have to make sure that we are efficient, but not at the expense of local democracy. This must mean that a lot of key matters are taken at local level.”

He said the people of Bromley should not have a tall buildings policy “dictated” by the Mayor of London as part of a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Sir Bob added: “We do not want the same height levels as our neighbours in Croydon, which we can often see from Bromley. That ought to be a matter of our democratic choice.”

It comes after Tory MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman told the Standard the Government’s proposals on growth zones would create a “Wild West” for developers and they must go.


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