Sutton Lib Dems slam Tory planning free-for-all that will lead to “slums of the future”

Sutton’s lead Councillors for planning policy are calling for the Government to rethink their plans to tear-up planning regulations which will deny local residents a say about what is built in their neigbourhoods.

Under new permitted development rules, Conservative ministers are removing key controls without any consultation. From 1st September 2020, home-owners will be able to add two extra floors to their houses without needing planning permission and commercial properties can be converted to residential units without meeting normal housing standards. This will lead to poorer quality housing stock in the borough.

A recent damning report to ministers about existing deregulation that allows commercial buildings to convert to residential units concluded the scheme has created very poor standard homes - "affecting the health, wellbeing and quality of life of future occupiers”.

An open door for the slums of the future Cllr. Jayne McCoy, Sutton’s Strategic Planning Lead, said:

”The Governments own report highlighted that just a fifth of the converted properties met set space standards. Many of the flats were tiny, and some of the units surveyed had no windows at all. Seven out of ten of the units couldn't get adequate light or ventilation.”

“Further deregulation risks giving developers the freedom to ride roughshod over local areas with no way of ensuring they meet quality standards, provide any affordable homes or ensure roads, schools and health services are in place. It is a blueprint for building the slums of the future”

Cllr. David Bartolucci, Strategic Planning Vice-chair and Sutton Central Councillor, added:
“The Local Government Association have made it clear that 40% of houses awarded planning consent over the last decade have yet to be built. Getting these built should be the government’s priority, not
this free-for-all approach which only serves to prevent locally elected Councillors working with residents to build the communities where they are proud to live.”

“The Tories have pushed this change on permitted development with no local consultation and separately to their broader Planning White Paper, driving yet another nail into the heart of local democracy by silencing the voices of residents and communities in our Borough”.

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