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Concerns raised over permitted development rules

The council’s lead member for planning has said he is concerned about the space and quality of homes following new planning laws announced by the Government.

Last month it was revealed that full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes – and home owners will also soon be able to add an extra two floors to their houses without needing full planning permission.

The new rules, announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, will come into effect next month under what is known as ‘permitted development’.

Concerns have been raised over the fact residents do not have a say over the appearance of an area, and the living quality of potential future flats.

But the Government says the changes ‘will deliver much-needed new homes and revitalise town centres’.

Mr Jenrick also said families ‘can provide much-needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows’.

Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), lead member for planning, said: “I would hope that when we see the detail, that we do have some powers over it.

“My main concern, as always with converting office accommodation, is it is not really purpose-built in terms of space and quality.

“It is good that redundant office buildings are converted into something but I do not think that the resident is getting what they should get.”

On the changes to home extensions, Cllr Coppinger added: “You have got the street scene to consider.

“You have got many areas with restrictions on them in terms of neighbourhood planning, areas of beauty, etc. In principle, in the right place, yes, but it has got to be in the right place.

“You can’t have a pair of semi-detached [homes], one with a two-storey extension and the other without, it would look appalling and would not be in the best interests of the borough and residents.”

Cllr Joshua Reynolds (Furze Platt, Lib Dem) tweeted that the proposals ‘will pave the way for yet more homes that are unfit for people to live in’.

Today (Thursday) the Government announced reforms to 'speed up and modernise the planning system' in a document called 'Planning for the Future'.

Changes include more building on brownfield land, developing local plans quicker and ensuring every area has one in place, and a new national levy to replace the existing system of developer contributions.

There are also plans for all homes to be carbon neutral by 2050 and a 'First Homes' scheme, to provide newly-built homes at a 30 per cent discount for local people, key workers and first-time buyers. 

The Government will consult with planners, lawyers and local government experts on the proposals, as well as interest groups and residents.    

Find the consultation document at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future

The consultation will close at 11.45pm on Thursday, October 29.

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