Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

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Navin's News for October 2013

“Government must reverse proposals or high streets will change forever”

Serious damage would be inflicted on town centres if the Government’s proposals to allow shops to be converted into flats goes through. The proposals would allow the owners of shops to convert them into flats without planning permission.

I proposed the motion, unanimously passed today by the London Assembly, calling on Mayor of London Boris Johnson to lobby the Government to reverse its proposals because of the detrimental impact it would have on high streets across London. The motion was proposed in response to the Government’s announcement in August that there would be a relaxation of the rules for converting retail outlets into residential premises.

This is another hair-brained idea from a Government which trumpets localism whilst once again ignoring local concerns. Many local authorities are doing fantastic work regenerating their local high streets but this takes away their ability to make local decisions on what is best for their communities.

We know there are better ways of getting housing than at the expense of jobs and growth. We recognise that our town centres must adapt in order to thrive and many local authorities are already doing this. It’s not right that they should not be allowed a say in what happens in their local communities.

I call on the Mayor to lobby the Government to reverse this ludicrous proposal which will ultimately damage town centres and change high streets forever.”

Ends

Notes 

  1. The motions has been copied below:

Commercial to Residential Conversions

This Assembly calls on the Mayor of London to lobby the Government to reverse its proposal to allow the conversion of shops into flats without planning permission.

This Assembly warns that the proposed permitted development rights may seriously impact on both Inner and Outer London Boroughs by:

1.         Creating hope value for retail premises in London whether viable or not, driving up rents for small businesses;

2.         damaging the integrity of some retail areas in London, leaving shops isolated from one another by unsuitable residential properties; and

3.         generating sub-standard quality of residential units, as Planning Authorities will have no control either over the size and mix of dwellings, nor over provision of infrastructure or standards.  

This Assembly recognises that our town centres must adapt in order to thrive, and that injecting larger residential elements could be beneficial by utilising redundant space and increasing footfall. Many local authorities are already doing this. However, such a move must be done in a plan-led way to avoid destroying the integrity of retail areas.

As well as secondary frontages of town centres, at most risk will be corner shops, local parades, and some neighbourhood shopping centres, which are often at the core of local communities. Because the change of use cannot be applied selectively, this will not spare those shops which are thriving.

This Assembly calls on the Mayor to lobby Government to reverse this proposal to avoid serious damage to London’s economic growth, social inclusion, and quality of housing, all to the detriment of localism.

 

LIFT FOR THE RAYNERS LANE STATION

Mrs Ariyasena and Ms Beryl Rosenbaum (Harrow Observer of 26 September and 3rd October) are absolutely right in highlighting the plight of commuters using Rayners Lane Station. It is the Transport for London’s (TfL) responsibility to cater for a lift or similar appropriate provision for a proper step-free access. Unfortunately – from my experience Mayor Boris Johnson, who is the Chair of TfL, is not listening to the concerns of our Harrow residents.     

 

01.Rayners L Station 4.10.13.JPG

Rayners Lane station is an extremely busy and a critical station for our communities. But poses severe problems with its 33 steps – one of the problems was perfectly highlighted when I took the accompanying photograph on Friday 4 October at about 12 noon. I’ve written to Mayor Johnson for a provision of lift at Rayners Lane Station. I do sincerely hope that he does not deny this much needed facility to our residents  and  commuters using this station in the way he has  denied similar facilities at Harrow on the Hill and Stanmore stations in spite of repeated lobbying from local residents, disability organisations etc. 

London has one of the most expensive tube/train fares in London and there are plans by Mayor Johnson to increase fares yet again above the rate of inflation. It is absurd that the fares have been going up every year under Mayor Johnson but he’s been bluntly refusing to make even our key stations accessible to the elderly, disabled and those who need level access. I am with the residents on this and will continue to apply pressure on TfL and the Mayor of London to provide our stations free of steps – Rayners Lane Station included. 

Cost of Living in London Survey

This week the Mayor confirmed that he is against freezing energy bills. At a time when Londoners are feeling the pinch you would have thought he would be supportive of measures to ease the cost of living crisis hitting our city. We need real action to help struggling families, under Boris we’ve had 5 years of inflation busting fare rises with another increase due to be announced soon. Recently he pushed through plans to increase rents for ‘affordable housing’ up to 80 per-cent of the market rate, this will increasingly push working Londoners out of their homes to make room for the better off. On top of squeezing people ever harder the Mayor is content to spend more on his advisors than the Prime Minister. Over £1.57 million a year of our money goes on his team at City Hall.

We are currently facing a cost of living crisis where prices are soaring and everyday necessities like food and bills are becoming unaffordable. The Mayor should use his position to ease the burden on ordinary Londoners. I have  launched a survey to find out how my constituents are coping with the cost of living crisis, you can complete this online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5DM8PHC. I encourage all residents to take a couple of minutes and fill out the questionnaire to let me know how you are coping.