Ealing MP addresses Parliament regarding 'dramatic proposals' dreamt up before the coronavirus pandemic

By Dimitris Kouimtsidis

26th Aug 2021 | Local News

EALING Central and Acton MP, Dr Rupa Huq has addressed the House of Commons regarding the issue of 'dramatic proposals' like major planning applications or reconfiguring our roads that were dreamt up before the pandemic.

The Labour MP addressed the Commons yesterday, February 25 and said: "Multiple measures affecting us all seem to be rushed through with no meaningful consultation of communities.

"Can he [Jacob Rees-Mogg] advise me how as an opposition backbencher, with Friday sittings now gone, I might be able to bring forward legislation to mandate maximum transparency and engagement into dramatic proposals like major planning applications, reconfiguring our roads – sometimes dreamt up way before the new normal."

The MP's quotes regarding major planning applications could potentially be linked to last week's Ealing Planning Committee meeting, where the decision to replace Perceval House with a 26-storey block was deferred.

Dr Huq spoke against the development citing concerns over height of the development impacting on neighbours, losing the character of the suburban centre and inadequate housing for families.

Similarly, her reference to 'reconfiguring our roads' could be linked to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTNs) scheme that was introduced in Ealing last summer and has caused much dissatisfaction throughout the borough.

The Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, certainly thought that Dr Huq was referring to the LTNs, as he replied: "I think it has been the case that some councils have abused the extra funding that has been provided and the ability to implement measures without proper consultation, particularly in relation to LTNs and the measures that they're implemented, which have caused great inconvenience to motorists and not much benefit to residents."

Dr Huq told Nub News: "Residents need to be meaningfully consulted on rushed measures brought in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's a widespread feeling that communities have been left in the dark on decisions that have greatly impacted their lives, from major planning decisions to the wholesale reconfiguration of our roads.

"I raised the question with Jacob Rees-Mogg seeing as our lives are set to dramatically change as we learn to live with coronavirus.

"There is a case to be made that big planning decisions with widespread implications lasting years are subject to additional consultation to COVID-proof them so they are compatible with the needs and wants of communities in the new normal."

"Many of these changes were thought up well before the pandemic, and won't be appropriate once the worst of the pandemic is over.

"I want to see the Government work in partnership with councils to ensure there's maximum transparency and engagement with residents.

"More democracy, more accountability, can only be a healthy thing."


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