Latest Public Sector News

20.12.12

MPs criticise planning relaxation

The planning relaxation proposals are ‘confused’, according to the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee.

In September, the Government announced that the maximum length of single-storey extensions that can be built without the need for planning permission would be doubled from three to six metres. For detached homes the limit would be relaxed from four to eight metres.

The proposals would last for three years with the express aim of boosting the construction industry.

But the MPs on the committee said the change was either worth making permanently, or not at all. Its report says: “We regret that the Government has failed to address or evaluate the social and environmental arguments put forward against the proposed changes to permitted development rights for domestic extensions.

“If the change to permitted development rights is worth making, it should be permanent. If it is not, the change should not be made. The proposed changes need to be subject to a thorough and rigorous examination, which the consultation initiated on 12 November 2012 is not.

“Temporary changes can cause confusion and create uncertainty both at the inception of the change and in the period before its conclusion.

“We conclude that the case for the changes the Government proposes to permitted development rights for domestic extensions has not been made.

“We therefore do not agree that in non-protected areas the maximum depth for single-storey rear extensions should be increased to eight metres for detached houses, and six metres for any other type of house.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The planning system needs to strike a balance between the rights of the homeowner and their neighbours, avoiding excessive red tape whilst still protecting local amenity.

“Our practical proposals make it easier for thousands of hard-working families to undertake home improvements to cater for a growing family and for businesses to expand and grow, and the consultation we are currently running gives people the opportunity to comment on the reforms.

“The reforms would take the majority of applications which are uncontroversial and approved out the system, while some 160,000 applications will continue to be considered through the planning system.”

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