Councillors of all parties ‘rise above politics’ to unanimously vote to oppose planning law relaxation

Councillors from all parties have united to oppose the government’s proposed relaxation of planning laws.

Members at Thursday’s meeting of the full council in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, voted unanimously to resist the proposed changes.

Cllr Shoaib Patel, cabinet member for planning, said: “Planning permission is not in place to reduce workers, it is in place to protect people from unwanted development.

“It’s a myth to think that planning laws hold back development or the economy.”

In September, the coalition government announced plans to allow people to build larger house extensions and make shop and office expansions and housing developments easier.

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A consultation is now underway and several local authorities, including the Greater London Authority, have already voiced their opposition to relaxing planning regulations.

Councillors from all parties voiced concerns at the meeting but Cllr Jas Athwal moved a motion to amend the proposal to remove “political claptrap” about localism and “failures” of the previous Labour government.

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Members narrowly voted against the amendment but a second change, proposing stronger action than writing to the Secretary of State, succeeded.

The motion reads: “This council will protect Redbridge residents from oppressive and unneighbourly development by actively resisting the proposals to extend permitted development rights.”

Conservative member Cllr Alex Wilson, who proposed the amendment, said: “It’s a recipe for dispute, it’s a recipe for disaster and it’s got to be stopped.

“No one in this room worked harder than me to get the Conservatives elected and I understand unpalatable and difficult decisions have had to be made but that’s no excuse to be plain stupid.

“I kept quiet on the budget omnishambles, on the pasty tax, on the Virgin trains fiasco, but I will not keep quiet on this.”

Cllr Richard Hoskins applauded the Labour group for “rising above politics” to vote in the motion, adding: “This is a pistol from the government pointed at the head of every local council and at local residents and we must act in their interest.”

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