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Westminster Conservatives’ election pledge to reform broken planning system

Tories also promise to do better in holding CityWest Homes to account if re-elected

27 April, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Robert Davis appeared at the manifesto launch in Lancaster Gate 

WESTMINSTER Conservatives have pledged to reform the council’s broken planning system if re-elected following mounting criticism.

The party’s top brass staged a series of “action days” in key wards over the weekend with candidates launch- ing a manifesto and promising to “strive to improve the lives of everyone”.

Former planning chief Cllr Robert Davis, who has not been seen publicly since the national uproar over his extensive gifts and hospitality register of interests entries, appeared outside Waitrose in Bayswater ward for the big launch.

Promoting the manifesto, leader Cllr Nickie Aiken said: “We have already begun to reform our planning system and this will continue if re-elected. We will ensure residents have a bigger say in major applications at an earlier stage and enable them to speak at planning committees.”

She added: “At the heart of serving the people of Westminster must be to be inclusive and accessible.”

The manifesto also contains a “vision” to make Westminster one of the greenest and cleanest boroughs in London while “council house building” is also at “the top of our agenda”. The manifesto also criticises the Mayor of London for Oxford Street pedestrianisation proposals, saying that only a Conservative council would stand up to Sadiq Khan. Conservative councils have historically opposed pedestrianisation but the latest attempt was officially backed by Westminster Council. However, the Conservative manifesto says: “If our red lines are not adopted and funding streams to maintain the road are not guaranteed we have made it clear we will not support pedestrianisation.”

The council has also published a “digital manifesto” that promises to roll-out new “5G communication” that will create “full gigabit WiFi coverage” across the borough.

The Conservatives also promise to “hold CityWest Homes to account and ensure their customer and repair services are the best in the sector”.

Labour has said it will scrap the organisation if it does not dramatically improve its service to social housing tenants.

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