A special update from Cllr Nickie Aiken, Leader of Westminster City Council
I wanted to share with you news about the biggest changes for Westminster planning in a generation. This is work I began when I became Leader of the Council in January 2017. We are going to reinforce the role of residents at the heart of the planning process. We are going to reinvigorate the planning service to best serve you.
Supporting residents and amenity societies
A traditional planning service will now become focused on place shaping to support your neighbourhood. It will work much more closely and earlier with potential planning applicants and communities to minimise confrontation and achieve agreement and consensus. We will see planning officers becoming far more active, developing as mediators and problem solvers. They will support neighbourhood forums, amenity societies and all residents and businesses to participate in the planning process.
Public speaking rights
We shall introduce public speaking rights for applications which go to planning committee meetings to open up the process, so you can engage directly with committee members.
A new city plan to support your neighbourhood
In November, Westminster will also be launching our new City Plan, led by Councillor Richard Beddoe, Westminster’s Cabinet Member for place making and planning. As he says, “The plan will take a fresh look at what planning policy can do to support Westminster’s neighbourhoods, focusing on what you need and on conservation rather than pure preservation”.
Housing – my top priority
Amid this revolutionary change from pure planning to place making, housing, especially affordable housing, remains my top priority. The housing minister, Kit Malthouse, is a former member of Westminster Council. He will be leading the Prime Minister’s reforms which make it significantly easier to build new homes with billions of pounds of investment across the country. And building new affordable homes is my top priority, we are already committed locally to 2000.
I want Westminster to be a City for All, with a world of opportunity for everyone who lives and works here.