I’m taking steps to protect London’s launderettes from planning changes.
In October, the Government said it would remove planning protections that stop local launderettes from being changed to other types of shops and housing by this May.
But we all need our local launderettes from time to time, and I relied completely on mine for more than five years when I lived in a flat that was too small for a washing machine. The proportion of homes without a washing machine remains at about 1 in 20.
London used to have several thousand launderettes and only a few hundred remain: approximately one per council ward, meaning that almost all of us still have one within walking distance.
It’s important these remain and if the Government does go ahead with the new rules, as Mayor I’ll introduce exemptions for London’s launderettes on the grounds that they are a vital part of the social fabric and an important safety net for a large number of Londoners.
London’s remaining launderettes are mostly going concerns – there are two busy launderettes on the street I live on – and the Government’s plans don’t take account of the important role they plan in healthy communities.
The London Forum is campaigning to keep our launderettes protected and has discovered that the Government will be tabling the Statutory Instrument to bring in their proposals for permitted development rights within the next few days.
There is therefore still time to write to your MPs asking them to “pray against” the proposals and make sure they are debated in the House of Commons.