Local MP Calls for End to 'Dramatic Changes' Without Consultation

Rupa Huq says transparency needed for planning decision and traffic measures

Rupa Huq MP asking her question to Jacob Rees-Mogg

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Rupa Huq has called for more transparency and public engagement on what she describes as the sweeping measures brought in during the pandemic.

The MP for Ealing Central and Acton, posed a question to Jacob Rees-Mogg via video call this Thursday (25 February) and said the Government needs to work with councils to ensure “maximum transparency and engagement into dramatic proposals” brought in during the pandemic.

She 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 reference to major planning applications alluded to last week's Ealing Planning Committee meeting, where the decision to replace Perceval House with a 26-storey block was deferred.

Dr Huq opposed giving the green light to 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, she confirmed her reference to 'reconfiguring our roads' related to controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTNs) schemes that were introduced across Ealing borough last year.

The Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, 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.”

Rupa Huq later told us, “More democracy, more accountability, can only be a healthy thing.

“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.”

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February 28, 2021

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