Providing good affordable housing for Crawley residents
We in the Labour administration are determined to build homes in Crawley, for Crawley people, that they can afford to live in and we have already commissioned the building of 1000 new homes in the Borough. When delivered this will cut our waiting list in half. We plan to build more.
But David Cameron’s recent announcement that the government will extend permitted development rights nationally is nothing but an unmitigated disaster for Crawley, for our residents and for our businesses and will not help us achieve our aim -; in fact quite the opposite. The centrally imposed regulations, effectively sounding the death nell for the much vaunted Localism, allow owners of office buildings to convert them into residential usage without planning permission. The result will be to exacerbate the acute shortage of employment space in both Manor Royal and across the Town while at the same time permitting residential use in inappropriate locations, without proper standards and without the provision of proper amenities, like play areas, or contribution to infrastructure costs or schools.
We have a very well planned Town, right from our new town origins. Our planners do not obstruct developers from building homes or business premises -; in fact, they help them. We have a shortage of land on which to build homes and a shortage of land for employment premises. The costs of home ownership are too high for our people to afford. We need help from government with these issues, not an arbitrary tearing up of planning policies that work well.
We are fully supported by local business groups and are working with them and the local government association to raise our concerns with government nationally. Let us hope that they will listen before it is too late for our Town.
Cllr Peter Smith -; Labour Ifield and Ifield West
Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development