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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: Roll-out of vaccine is a feat our country can be proud of

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The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine is a feat which our country can be proud of. I am grateful for the dedication of NHS staff and all the workers and volunteers involved in protecting our nation at this time.

At locations throughout Sussex, including at Crawley Hospital, people are receiving Covid vaccines as part of our fightback against the virus.

There are now more than 1,000 GP services and over 250 hospital sites now offering vaccinations in England.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is the lead provider for the vaccination programme locally and they are looking for people to play their part in the vaccine roll-out.

The NHS are calling for potential vaccinators and volunteers to help protect millions of people from Covid, and want people who are able to work as flexibly as possible, including at evenings and weekends. I am grateful to everyone who has signed up already with more opportunities still available.

If you would like to help or are interested in finding out more, please click here for information from the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, and click here if you are interested in other volunteering opportunities as part of the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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