Standard Method Doubles Housing Targets in London – and now London Tory MPs squeal

If you clumily back off badly conceived reform in one area because of Nimby panic, and treat development like a shell game, yo simply, Secretary of State, stoke it elsewhere.


Boris Johnson has been urged to ditch “Wild West” planning reforms and not allow the “destruction” of London’s suburbia.

Senior Conservative Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, fears the Government’s controversial planning shake-up will deny local residents a vital say in developments going up in their area.

Mr Blackman, secretary of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs, told the Standard: “I and other MPs are picking up on the doorstep that people don’t want suburban London destroyed by blocks of flats going up that overshadow normal two or three-storey suburban houses.”

Former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, also warned of “anxieties … in the London suburbs where there is relentless pressure for more and more flats to be built”.Advertisement

Mr Blackman backed “gentle densification” of housing but warned of planning applications going in for high blocks, with no parking.

“Most people would say four to six-storey housing, mansion blocks … that’s not too bad,” he explained.

“But if we are then seeing these monstrosities… blocks of up to 20 storeys …it’s beyond anything that is reasonable.”

Proposed planning reforms are believed to have been a key factor in last week’s shock Tory by-election defeat in Chesham and Amersham, a Conservative stronghold since 1974.

Mr Blackman said: “The proposals on zoning — with growth zones which will be like the Wild West for developers — have got to go.” Elaborating on his concerns over the impact of new growth areas for housing developments in the capital, he added: “The proposed changes would make it even worse because people would not get any say in what housing is provided

The Conservatives saw a majority of over 16,000 disappear as the Liberal Democrats won the by-election by more than 8,000 votes.

Ms Villiers stressed: “Planning reform was clearly an issue which contributed to losing this seat.

“Similar anxieties are felt in the London suburbs where there is relentless pressure for more and more flats to be built.

“This election result provides an important opportunity to think again about controversial planning reforms and reduce housing targets in the London suburbs and the counties around the capital.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the by-election result was “very disappointing,” stressing there were local factors such as HS2, as well as planning.

He added: “There was a lot of talk about people saying the Government was not listening on planning …we are listening, we want to engage with our MPs. I have a southern seat as well where this is a big issue.”

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