Camden Labour have proposed stopping sending written notifications to residents of planning applications submitted for neighbouring propertiess.

I am strongly opposed to ending this basic service, which will leave thousands of local residents unnotified about planning applications that have a chance to ruin their lives or their homes.

At Camden’s next full council meeting, on 16th November, I’ll be putting forwards a motion alongside fellow Conservative Councillor Siobhan Baillie, backing the retention of these notifications. The motion reads:

This Council:
– Notes the importance of conserving Camden and preserving the character of its diverse neighbourhoods
– Values and encourages resident involvement in the planning process. It also believes that neighbours and interested parties should be given every opportunity to raise concerns or approval of development plans.
– Welcomes planning applications that preserve and enhance the character of our communities.
– It notes that wider consultation gives honest applicants reassurance that they are proceeding equitably and highlights problematic plans in good time.
– Notes that postal notification remains the gold standard for communication with residents for all purposes – from rent requests to school place offers – and is the method by which most residents find out about planning applications.
– Notes that postal notifications permit swift resolution of disputes or disagreements over applications, in the confidence that all affected residents have been informed directly.
– Welcomes online innovation as an additional tool – not a replacement for – communication by post. The latter is still relied on by the majority of residents, many of whom do not receive email alerts.
– Notes the Council’s Public Sector Equality Duty not to discriminate on the basis of age, and notes that older residents in particular value postal notifications over email bulletins or street clutter posters.
– Regrets that Camden Council’s consultation regarding their desire to rely more heavily on online services is being conducted primarily online: reducing the ability of people most affected to have their say on the proposal.
– Notes that the Camden magazine, which the leader previously promised to end after a year (when the publication increased from 4 to 10 issues), costs as much as postal notifications, and believes the money is better spent on informing residents of applications that have a direct impact on their lives, rather than on a vanity magazine that few people read.
– Opposes the proposal to end written notifications of residents about planning applications

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