Labour politicians in Harrow have criticised the Government’s intentions to overhaul England’s planning system, suggesting it will result in the public having less of a say on proposed developments.

According to research carried out by the borough’s Labour Group, the changes would result in thousands of planning applications bypassing proper public scrutiny.

Under its ‘Planning for the Future’ project – described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War – the Government seeks to streamline the national planning system by “cutting red tape”.

If approved, it means developments in designated growth areas would be given the green light provided they meet new local design standards.

It is part of a wider plan to speed up the process to encourage housebuilding, with developers and local authorities making use of a “clearer”, rules-based approach.

However, some councillors in Harrow have argued the new system would damage local democracy by removing the public’s right to contribute to individual applications.

Cllr Adam Swersky (Lab, West Harrow), who is responsible for finance at Harrow Council, said: “Labour councillors have worked with local people to successfully oppose inappropriate developments like the preposterous 12-storey Vaughan Road hotel.

“Under the new rules, local people won’t get a say at all, and these inappropriate developments would have gone ahead.

“We are fighting to stop developments like those on the Ridgway and the Conservative Government is making it harder for residents and easier for big developers.”

He was supported by Cllr Keith Ferry (Lab, Greenhill), deputy leader of Harrow Council, who said the plans would allow “wealthy developers” to “build what they want over the heads of local people”.

However, ministers insisted communities will “set the agenda for their own areas” while councils will have the responsibility to “prioritise good design, establish strong local guidance and create a fast-track for approving beautiful buildings”.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “These once in a generation reforms will lay the foundations for a brighter future, providing more homes for young people and creating better quality neighbourhoods and homes across the country.

“We will cut red tape, but not standards, placing a higher regard on quality, design and the environment than ever before.

“Planning decisions will be simple and transparent, with local democracy at the heart of the process.”