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The Government’s proposed overhaul of the planning system is “ill-conceived, rushed and damaging” and does nothing to address the barriers still holding back the delivery of new homes,

the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned.

In his formal response to the Government’s ‘white paper’ for reforming the planning system, the Mayor is clear Ministers’ plans could alienate communities across the capital, undermine local accountability in planning decisions, and make it far harder for London to build the homes and infrastructure it needs.

Under the Government’s proposals, announced in August, mayors and local councils would have less power to ensure new developments include genuinely affordable homes and have the backing of local people. They would also mean far less certainty over the delivery of improvements to local infrastructure and transport, which are often an important condition of planning approval.

The plans also mean councils could have to hand back affordable homes to developers, to then be put on the private market, if housing market conditions change.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “When I became Mayor I made it clear one of my top priorities was to tackle the housing crisis and try to overcome the legacy I inherited – and last year we started more genuinely affordable homes than any year since record began.

“Let me be clear: this is an ill-conceived, rushed and damaging overhaul of the planning system which has been dictated from Whitehall and takes away democratic control and local scrutiny from our planning process.

“Quite simply, taking power away from local communities is the last thing the capital, or our country, needs. A one-size-fits-all planning system - dictated from Whitehall and with decision-making taken away from communities – just doesn’t work, whether you’re in London, Liverpool or Leeds.

“My team have worked tirelessly over the last four years to develop a new London Plan which seeks to tackle the challenges the city faces, support growth which takes local communities with it, and deliver both genuinely affordable housing and important infrastructure.

“I’m urging the Secretary of State to abandon these reforms, approve the new London Plan and let the capital get on with building the homes Londoners urgently need.”

Photo by Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn, Wikimedia commons.