Dartford Tories Refuse to Debate Labour Motion on the Housing and Planning Bill
This week, Labour Councillors tabled a motion for debate at Dartford Borough Council on the governments proposed Housing and Planning Bill. You can read our motion here.
We tabled the motion because we feel that if the bill becomes law it risks not only delivering a hugely damaging impact on the amount of affordable housing in our town, but also takes power away from the council and local people to deliver more affordable housing in the future. It's important that Dartford Council debates the impacts of this bill - as many other councils up and down the country have also chosen to do.
This is a piece of Conservative legislation, so we expected a robust defence of the bill in the debate from Dartford Tories. But we didn't really get that. Instead, after the Leader of the Council had spoken, the Tories used their majority on the council to force through a 'closure motion' – shutting down the debate and preventing other councillors from all sides of the chamber having their say.
I’ve been a councillor for five years and this was the most cynical attempt to play politics with an issue and stifle debate that I’ve witnessed. The actions of the Conservatives demonstrated a real lack of respect for the council and the importance of open debate, and a disregard for residents who are concerned about the lack of affordable housing in Dartford. It's not how our council should be conducting itself.
The Tories clearly did not want to debate the Housing and Planning Bill with us and we can only speculate on the reasons for that. However, Labour’s view remains unchanged – we feel this bill represents an attack on affordable housing and an attack on the aspirations of those in our town who simply want a home to call their own. We remain ready to have that discussion and if the Tories don't want to debate it in the Council Chamber we are happy to debate with them any time, any place
Image: The Bridge. Hemingway Design http://houseofhemingway.co.uk/hemingway-design/projects/bridge/