Labour councillors in Westminster have called on the government to give local councils the power to stop non-urgent, noisy demolition and construction work during lockdown.

Construction workers on site.
Construction workers on a site in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia.

“In recent weeks, many residents across the City of Westminster have written to their elected representatives — Councillors and MPs — to raise concerns about often non-urgent noisy construction works continuing during lock-down,” says the Westminster Labour group.

“The extreme noise nuisance caused by works like demolition and installing cables is in some cases having an enormous impact on people’s ability to work from home and on their mental health.”

Councillor Pancho Lewis, who represents residents in the West End Ward, says he has been “inundated with correspondence raising this issue”.

In a letter to Alok Sharma MP, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Lewis and his colleagues write to ask for a temporary measure during lockdown to enable councils to restrict or prevent works. “This would enable councils to make locally determined decisions on a case-by-case basis, better balancing the needs of some works to continue with protecting residential amenity.”

In March Sharma wrote to the construction industry saying its work was “critical”. Westminster council says “we support the Government’s position that construction should continue.”