Labour’s plan to abolish notification letters for planning decisions informing residents has been put to its mandatory legal consultation – with residents having until January to submit their opinions. The consultation can be found online here.

The so-called ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ states Camden’s policy on what planning issues it involves the community on, who in the community is involved, when they’re involved, and how they’re involved.

The proposal involves moving away from the current system – wherein residents are sent notifications of planning applications at neighbouring properties – to one where residents have to proactively look for applications that might affect them.

The new methods would be sending out online e-alerts, having an online map of recent planning applications, and putting up site notices. Councils are required by law to put up either site notices or send letters.

Using notices on lampposts – of the sort used for suspended parking bays – is a significant downgrade. Posted letters are the gold standard for communication. That’s why courts deem them the only substitute for face-to-face meeting. Camden wouldn’t dream of posting school place allocations or social rent demands on lampposts – so why do it for planning applications?

This is unfair and would dramatically reduce the ability of people to oppose harmful planning applications. Labour clearly want less community involvement in planning applications – I want more, which means opposing their plans to leave Hampstead without a voice.

However, whatever your view – you can have your say in the consultation:

For more about my campaign to oppose over-development, click here.