Villiers calls for changes to Mayor’s plans on housing and development

Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, has expressed concern about Labour’s proposals for housing and planning and called for significant changes to be made before the final version is agreed. The draft London Plan published by the Mayor of London today would give Barnet the highest target for new homes of any outer London borough.

Current planning rules give some protection to back gardens to prevent too many of them from being built over. These protections would be removed under the Mayor’s new plan, giving more opportunities for so-called ‘garden grabbing’. The Mayor also proposes to remove the ‘housing density matrix’ which puts limits on how dense a development can be in a local area. This is likely to open the way for much larger scale, high-rise, high-density development in Barnet.

Theresa Villers said “I am worried that the Mayor’s draft London Plan could lead to over-development in the Chipping Barnet constituency. I accept the need for new homes; we are building more homes in Barnet than in any other London borough. But we need to ensure that new development is in tune with the surrounding area and does not put undue strain on local services and infrastructure.”

“I would appeal to the Mayor to think again about his plans to remove protection for back gardens. Back gardens play an important role in quality of life and biodiversity in London. Allowing more ‘garden grabbing’ could create long term damage to our environment.”

“It is also a big mistake to remove the rules which determine how dense a development can be in a particular area. If this goes ahead, it could open the way for high-rise over-dense development in low-rise suburban areas of Barnet."

“That would have a negative impact on my constituents, including added pressure on roads and parking. For example, this new plan from Labour will make it much more likely that proposals for high-rise development will go ahead in North London Business Park despite opposition from residents.”

Under Boris Johnson’s London Plan (which this one is due to replace), a target was set for 36% of affordable homes to be family sized. This target has been removed in Labour’s new plan.

Theresa Villers said “It is a disappointing to see that the Mayor intends to scrap the target that 36% of affordable homes be big enough for a family to live in. Family life is the backbone of the community in Chipping Barnet and removing this target it will make it more difficult for young families to find a place to make their home”.

The London Plan will be open for consultation from 1st December 2017 to 2nd March 2018. Theresa Villiers is encouraging her constituents to make their voices heard by taking part. More information can be found on the GLA website at https://www.london.gov.uk.