Highgate Society re-issue challenge to MP Eric Pickles to meet with them

When MP Eric Pickles said the government would relax planning laws last year, the Highgate Society challenged the secretary of state to meet its members to discuss the effect it would have on the neighbourhood.

A year later they have still heard nothing from the Communities and Local Government chief.

However, former society chairman Michael Hammerson is still eager to meet Mr Pickles to tell him relaxed planning laws could change Highgate forever.

“It’s now even worse so I still want to meet him and also to ask him why he never responded to us directly,” he said.

The rules, which came into effect this year, allow people to build extensions and loft conversions without planning permission, though they must tell the council and consult neighbours.

A spokesman from the Department of Communities and Local Government said the office has no record of direct letters from the Highgate Society.

He said: “Their local MP Lynne Featherstone did write on their behalf with their comments, and ministers responded to the MP.”

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Mr Hammerson said the response to Ms Featherstone’s letter was “rather rubbish” and that he doesn’t mind resending the letters to Mr Pickles.