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Shadow Housing Secretary visits Crawley to announce plans on scrapping developers ‘get-out clause’

While on a visit to Crawley, Labour annoucned it will scrap developer ‘get-out clause’ which they say has led to the loss of over 10,000 affordable homes nationwide and hundreds in the town.

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Peter Lamb (L) John Healey MP (R) outside a permitted development with over 200 flats in Russell Way, Three Bridges, Crawley

Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, was in Crawley today announcing that the next Labour Government will scrap ‘permitted development’ rules for new homes, ending a get-out clause which allows developers to dodge social housing obligations and build slum housing.

Permitted development rights introduced since 2013 allow developers to bypass the normal planning process by converting commercial spaces into housing without the consent of the council and local community.

This gives developers a get-out from requirements to provide affordable housing and meet basic quality rules such as space standards creating ‘rabbit hutch’ flats.

Labour says these Conservative changes were introduced to boost house-building numbers, but the measures mean housing units just a few feet wide in former office blocks are now counted in official statistics as ‘new homes’. There are 42,000 new housing units that have been converted from offices since 2015.

Research by the Local Government Association has estimated that over 10,000 affordable homes have been lost as a result of permitted development in the last three years alone.

Research for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found that permitted development has “allowed extremely poor-quality housing to be developed”, with only 30% of homes built through permitted development meeting national space standards.

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:

“Conservative permitted development rules have created a get-out clause for developers to dodge affordable homes requirements and build slum housing.

“To fix the housing crisis, we need more genuinely affordable, high-quality homes. This Conservative housing free-for-all gives developers a free hand to build what they want but ignore what local communities need.

“Labour will give local people control over the housing that gets built in their area and ensure developers build the low-cost, high-quality homes that the country needs.”

Peter Lamb, Labour Leader at Crawley Borough Council and Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley, said:

‘In Crawley, perhaps more than anywhere else, Permitted Development is creating havoc in local neighbourhoods and robbing public services of the money they need to adapt to new housing. When I met with the Conservatives’ Housing Minister to discuss the damage his policy was causing to Crawley he spent the meeting playing with his phone rather than listening to the concerns of residents. Labour have listened and are backing local Crawley residents, rather than helping developers to fill their pockets at the cost of our community like the Conservatives.’

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Crawley Cabinet member rallies his support for towns Council Leader

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Crawley Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and councillor for Gossops Green & North East Broadfield Chris Mullins has rallied his support for Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb following the resignation of two Labour Councillors.

In a letter penned to the press he writes:

“I am a long serving member of Crawley Borough Council, with a personal history of service going back to 1983.

I have experienced many changes during these years of service, none though have been as difficult as the crisis we are going through now, with Covid 19.

Peter Lamb is the Leader, that this Town has been very fortunate to have had, in post. He has been a steady hand at the helm, when it was most needed.

We should realise and understand, how fortunate we have been, to have a leader, who has the skills and determination, to keep the people of this Town as safe as possible, at this terrible time.

All of Peter’s decisions have been made, on the grounds of Safety and in consultation with members. It is beyond my understanding that he could be accused of not consulting members, at any stage.

He has done this both with the public through his media contact and with members through our internet meetings, briefings and CBC Facebook. This has been an incredibly difficult time, as no physical meetings can take place, indeed the Town Hall has been closed for 3 Months now.

This has not been an easy time for communication. It should be appreciated that every one of us (members and officers) have been working under very difficult circumstances, This is not a time to criticise.

We all work together in the best interests of Crawley.

Peter’s door has always been open, to all who wish to talk to him, as it will continue to be.”

Yours Sincerely
Labour Cllr Chris Mullins

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