I was shocked to read in last week's newspaper that Slough Borough Council's planning committee has given planning consent for flats in Chapel Street that are deemed to be so substandard in terms of daylight and size that the council has imposed a restriction that person(s) will only be able to live there for a maximum of one year.
How on earth is SBC going to enforce this? Will the public be forced to pay the high costs of monitoring the tenancies of this strange privately owned building to ensure that people do not live there for too long? Of course not. In reality, occupation will be unrestricted – so much for council controls. The council has already proved it is powerless to control the many hundreds of illegal back garden sheds in which thousands live in unhygienic third-world conditions.
This is a disgrace; the Chapel Street scheme should never have been given planning consent. The council should have insisted on a scheme that met Slough's minimum requirements in terms of space and light, and was therefore worthy of being granted full planning consent, without a ludicrous prohibition on people staying for longer than one year. I heartily agree with Cllr. Peter Dale-Gough who spoke out against this harmful application at the planning meeting.
Even more worryingly, the precedent set in this instance will open the floodgates to other substandard developments in the town. Instead of being concerned about Slough's creeping ghettoisation and the blight that sub-standard accommodation brings to the town and its residents, it would seem that the council is more interested in pandering to greedy property developers.
Readers may be interested to note that the applicant for the flats in Chapel Street, Mr. Iftakhar Ahmed, is a member of Slough Labour Party"s General Committee. With Labour in control of Slough Borough Council, in my view this whole business looks very fishy indeed.