Dear Mr Keen
It will come as no surprise to you that I am writing to you about the remarks you made at the ‘Save Our Homes’ event last Saturday at Osterley Hotel. My response to what you said at the time will have indicated just how horrified I was.
The comments you made (and which I wrote down at the time) that cause me the most concern were:
- That the [planning] culture has changed at the Council in the past couple of years and that when you represented the Hounslow West ward on the Council, the Local Authority recognised a different culture and would take a more lenient view for those with extended families;
- Your claim that the rules were previously relaxed for Punjabi families.
You will recall that I stated openly that I considered the above approach fundamentally wrong, dangerous and extremely unhelpful for those of us who are working hard in the areas of community cohesion and maintaining good race relations locally.
I only have two questions to ask you:
- Would you provide examples of how rules were previously relaxed?
- On reflection, do you have any regrets about what you said last Saturday?
I believe that planning policies, such as the Council’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP), exist and apply equally to all residents. Any planning permission, refusal or enforcement actions are made in accordance with the policies set out in the UDP and they set out the general direction in which change will be encouraged or resisted. I would personally resist a relaxation of any of these policies for certain racial or ethnic groups. I regret that we have a different point of view on this.
Councillor Mark Bowen
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in Feltham & Heston