'It's like sending people to Rwanda': Ex-Labour MP on neighbours' extensions voting plan

11 May 2022, 16:44 | Updated: 11 May 2022, 16:50

'It's like sending people to Rwanda': Ex-Labour MP blasts neighbours' extensions voting plan
'It's like sending people to Rwanda': Ex-Labour MP blasts neighbours' extensions voting plan. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Tim Dodd

Former Labour MP Stephen Pound has told LBC the government's plans for neighbours to be allowed to vote on planning permission for developments on their street are "ill-thought out... like sending people to Rwanda" and could "overwhelm" the courts.

As part of the Queen's Speech, Prince Charles said on Tuesday that "the planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development" as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

The bill was said to "give communities a louder voice", after previous attempts to reform planning were paused amid Conservative resistance.

Communities will be able to vote on whether planning permission should be granted for extensions to existing homes on their street.

Residents will also be allowed to decide rules governing the layout and materials used for new developments.

The Times reported that local residents will be permitted to hold referendums over the style and size of extensions, new homes and conversions on their street, as well as deciding whether more loft conversions and conservatories can be built without full planning permission.

Read more: 'What the hell?': James O'Brien skewers Dartford Council leader over food bank photo

Mr Pound told Shelagh Fogarty: "The idea of having a neighbourhood veto on planning applications is one of the maddest, most potentially disruptive, corrosive, ludicrous schemes I have ever heard in my life.

"It's an absolute guarantee for litigation, lawyers will be rubbing their callous palms in glee at the thought of this.

"What you want in planning is objectivity. You don't want a subjective view of people who say 'we live in Richmond'... the people whose noise nuisance is playing Rachmaninoff in the wrong key.

"There's a thing called the Building Research Establishment, who actually set standards, proper mathematically, geometrically defined standards for things like loss of lights, amenities, and outlook.

"We should be working on a common standard, an objective standard, not this subjective nonsense of what the neighbours like and the neighbours don't like.

"Because I'm sorry, they're absolutely opening a can of worms, the likes of which will overwhelm the courts."

Mr Pound continued: "This whole thing, it's a bit like sending people to Rwanda, it's just ill-thought out. No one's actually considered the consequence of it."

The former Labour MP gave the example of someone who wants to build a loft extension but has had a dispute with their neighbour over parking.

"Is the neighbour then going to say I'm going to forget all this problem with the parking and I'm going to sign off on your loft extension?" he asked.

"No way! they're going to use that to twist the knife."

Read more: Over 2m people go whole days without eating as charity slams 'failing society'

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

'We're told to smile whilst we're sexually harassed': Campaigner aims to end street sexual harassment

'We're told to smile whilst it happens': Campaigner aims to end street sexual harassment

Tory Cllr: Boris Johnson has 'without a doubt' harmed party's reputation

Boris has 'without a doubt' harmed party's reputation, Tory councillor says

Caller, who lost mother, brands Boris Johnson a 'proven liar' before breaking down in tears

Caller, who lost mother, brands PM a 'proven liar' before breaking down in tears

Importing overseas nurses hides 'gaping wound' of UK nurse supply, warns RCN Deputy Nursing Dir

Importing overseas nurses hides 'gaping wound' within NHS, warns nursing chief

Britain's ability to sign trade deals will be damaged if it unilaterally dumps the Northern Ireland protocol according to Nick Thomas-Symonds

Truss damaging UK's reputation with NI Protocol 'threats', Labour MP warns

Liverpool fans booing national anthem was 'misdirected', says ex-Bishop of city

Liverpool fans booing national anthem was 'misdirected', says ex-Bishop of city

'Terrified': Stella Creasy tells LBC of gang rape threats at university

'My gang rape fear': Stella Creasy tells of sex harassment hell at Cambridge

Tradesman opens up to Shelagh Fogarty about 'harder and harder' work routine

Tradesman opens up to Shelagh Fogarty about 'harder and harder' work routine

Sadiq Khan demands 2-year rent freeze to combat cost of living crisis

Sadiq Khan demands 2-year rent freeze to combat cost of living crisis

Eco activist attacks government's 'draconian' protest crackdown in Public Order Bill

Eco activist attacks government's 'draconian' protest crackdown in Public Order Bill

Britain facing 'health crisis' as cost-of-living emergency bites, warns charity boss

Brits facing 'health crisis' as cost of living emergency bites, warns charity boss

Exclusive
Distraught LBC caller eats one meal a WEEK amid food poverty crisis

Distraught LBC caller breaks down after revealing she eats just one meal a week

'Toe-curling' account of coercive control LBC listeners brand 'heartbreaking'

'Toe-curling' account of coercive control LBC listeners brand 'heartbreaking'

Andy Burnham: 'The country is ready' for 'full nationalisation' of railways

Andy Burnham: 'The country is ready' for 'full nationalisation' of railways

Pensioners 'in tears' in reduced aisles amid cost-of-living crisis

Pensioners 'in tears' in reduced aisles amid cost of living crisis, supermarket worker reveals

Cleaner fired for refusing to work at house of man watching porn around her

Cleaner fired for refusing to work at house of man watching porn around her