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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.’

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Getting Brexit done, supporting schools and backing our NHS

In his article this week Henry Smith MP talks Brexit, education and health.

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I often receive messages from Crawley residents – those who voted Leave, and those who voted Remain – who tell me that we need to end the Brexit uncertainty and leave the European Union without delay.

The likes of Jeremy Corbyn, and other leftist party leaders such as Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon, seek to prolong the uncertainty, by delaying or even stopping Brexit, which would cost the UK roughly £1 billion a month net in EU membership.

Their Surrender Bill seeks to require the Prime Minister to ‘immediately’ accept any Brexit delay sought by the EU, irrespective of conditions that may be imposed.

As Parliament is blocking the Prime Minister’s promise to the nation to take Britain out by 31st October, the only solution is a general election – which is also being blocked by the opposition out of fear of what the people will say.

While they seek to overturn the will of the people, this week in Parliament I joined the Prime Minister in the House of Commons division lobby to vote for an early election to get Brexit done.

Last week I also questioned the Education Secretary about the increase to school funding, and asked the Health & Social Care Secretary about innovative genomic medicine which will benefit cancer patients in the decade ahead.

I additionally raised the importance of ensuring that the extra cash for frontline NHS services results in enhanced GP provision and reduced waiting times.

As well as this, I led and secured a parliamentary debate calling for greater involvement of patients in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare.

There is huge potential for AI to transform the lives of those living with heart and circulatory diseases, including some 11,000 people in Crawley. It is vital that those affected are included fully in discussions about the development and adoption of these new technologies.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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