‘Fundamentally flawed’ – Council calls for government planning reform rethink

Proposed planning reforms will undermine local democracy, fail to tackle the housing crisis and lead to poorer quality new development, Hackney Council has told the government as it calls for a rethink of rules that could strip local residents of their right to participate in planning decisions.

The proposals, set out in the government’s Planning for the Future white paper last year, would see a raft of changes aimed at simplifying the planning process, which the Council passed a motion describing as ‘fundamentally flawed’ in July 2021.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville joined Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Guy Nicholson and Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Vincent Stops in calling for a review of the proposals to protect the right of local communities to engage in planning applications, ensure that levies on new developments are kept locally, and guarantee local control of planning rules.

They said: 

In Hackney, we’re committed to ensuring a fair recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and a Council and community-led planning system is vital to ensuring that local people are the first to benefit from change. We strongly believe that our borough’s town centres and high streets can succeed in the long-term and that our policies – delivered through an effective, efficient and locally accountable Local Planning Authority – can help deliver on the priorities of a growing community, including the delivery of genuinely affordable housing and workspace.

We believe planning works best when local communities, Councillors, Councils, landowners and developers work together to shape local neighbourhoods to deliver much-needed new homes and workspaces, alongside coordinating the funding and delivery of neighbourhood-based infrastructure. We therefore request that the Government reviews the Planning Reform White Paper to protect the right of local communities to object to individual planning applications and protect their right to engage with all aspects of the planning process.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney; Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Vincent Stops, Chair of the Planning Committee

Read the letter in full

Hackney Council has a strong record of putting the local community at the heart of planning issues, recently adopting a new Local Plan following extensive community engagement as well as developing specific town centre planning guidance such as the draft Dalston Plan, developed based on the priorities of more than 5,000 local people.