Don’t make planning political issue

buildingIt looks that some opposition councillors with little knowledgeable of planning matters are making most noises in Harrow that ‘Labour cannot be trusted on planning’, all because these Tory councillors don’t like the developments needed to meet the challenge of housing shortage in the borough.
They seem to be more interested in point-scoring rather than appreciating the housing needs in Harrow.
According to the recent information from the Harrow council, there are 329 homeless in temporary accommodation in the borough and 47 outside borough. Total on waiting list for council accommodation as at 07/12/17 was 1995 – average waiting time for being re-housed in permanent accommodation could be anything up to eleven years.
It is interesting that the Tory councillors on the Harrow planning committee can vote against a planning application but cannot produce good reasons for a refusal, using the local, regional or national planning policies, when needed to overturn officer recommendation to grant a planning permission (pity that the planning-able Tory councillor who could effectively do so has been kept away from the planning committee by some in her group since her return to the council in a 2011 by-election).
Similarly their attack on London Mayor for granting some housing developments is immature.
According to London Councils’ analysis of housing statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Greater London Authority, 526,000 new homes are needed to be built between 2011 and 2021 in London just to keep up with current housing demand.
It is easy to outcry ‘green belt’ but building on just 25% of the green belt land inside the M25 would allow for just over one million new homes to be built. This would be a substantial gain in the current housing crisis.
[Green belt is not necessarily open countryside; green belt designation is an issue of policy and not necessarily always applicable to the wider countryside].
It can only be good that Harrow council plans to build almost 6,000 new homes during 2017-2022. Numbers of anticipated houses and sites as per LBH housing plans, 2017-22, are – to maximise the use of available land and to attract developers, tower blocks are unavoidable.