A Harrow MP has joined his Labour colleagues on the council in calling on the Government to rethink its proposed major planning reforms.

Gareth Thomas, who represents Harrow West, argued the changes could take power away from councillors and the public and make it easier for developers to secure permission for damaging schemes.

The Government’s plans, which were outlined in the Queen’s Speech last week, aim 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, Mr Thomas told the House of Commons this could have a negative effect on building “the right sort of homes, in the right standard, in the right places”.

“This will drastically reduce the role of councils and communities, such as those in my constituency, making it even harder to stop completely inappropriate developments. Ministers urgently need to think again,” he added.

He referenced plans for a 12-storey ‘aparthotel’ in Vaughan Road Car Park, West Harrow, which were refused by Harrow Council, and suggested this might not have been achievable under the proposed new system.

This scheme was also cited by several Harrow councillors, including West Harrow ward representative Cllr Adam Swersky, who noted the work with the community in opposing it.

Despite this criticism, ministers have 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”.