Luton's Housing Crisis
Since being elected as your MP one of the most common subjects for constituents to contact me about is their housing situation. The issues range from the lack of available social housing, poor quality accommodation and high rents or house prices. One of the issues causing low-quality accommodation is the current planning laws. They allow for the conversion of retail units and office blocks into housing without the need to get planning permission from the local authority, this is known as Permitted Development Rights
(PDR). It leads to poor quality unsuitable accommodation
where no thought to the housing quality, the location and environmental and energy concerns
amongst many other issues has to be considered.
Many examples of this can be seen in Luton town centre with old office blocks being converted to housing in inappropriate locations next to main roads with little access to green space and no available car parking. I recently demonstrated this to Shadow Minister for Planning, Ruth Cadbury MP.
I showed her first hand the impact that PDR has had on our town centre and the poor quality accommodation that has resulted. These housing units do nothing to tackle our housing crisis as what is needed most is affordable family homes. Yet this Government seems to be doubling down on their failed housing policies. Proposed planning reforms would further remove powers from local councils and severely restrict the ability of our communities to shape their local area. I recently introduced a Bill to Parliament
to ensure that communities have the final say on planning permissions in their area, not the developers. I also recently wrote about this subject in the first of my monthly columns in the Luton News, you can read it here.