Government urged to amend planning reforms
House extension planning reforms could reduce the quality of neighbourhoods and divide communities, architects and town planners have warned.
Following the publication of a YouGov poll, which found 54% of respondents believed that the removal of planning permission requirements for building extensions would reduce the design quality of their areas, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) have urged the Government to amend their proposals.
Calling on the Government to consider the private costs that future homeowners will be faced with when forced to rectify ill planned redevelopments, the RIBA has said that safeguards must be put in place to ensure designs remain of a high quality.
In the YouGov poll, one fifth of respondents also stated they were concerned that they would lose their influence over the outcome of local extensions once planning laws were changed.
Local democratic accountability and neighbourhood unity therefore had to be supported by the Government throughout this package of changes, the TCPA said.
Chair of the RIBA planning group, Ruth Reed said: 'The Government's new policy is rushed and if implemented could pave the way for poor design decisions which could damage our built environment for years to come. We agree that there is a need to reduce the red tape in our current planning system but as the British public have clearly expressed, this policy change must be more carefully considered to ensure we make our neighbourhoods better not worse.'
Kate Henderson, TCPA chief executive, said: 'The implications of the Government's drive towards by-passing local authorities in certain circumstances are serious. Local communities may well be marginalised and the increased workload for the Planning Inspectorate is unlikely to lead to any time or cost saving for the private sector without significant resource. The Government needs to carefully consider public legitimacy in planning decisions.'
Patrick - S106, like "affordable" homes, is crippling the housebuilding industry, especially small firms and self-builders who don't have the luxury of buying their sites years ago so their land cost is minimal. In my area, S106 alone is ?20,000 for a 4-bed house, and has to be paid upfront in a brown envelope with the planning application (no Grampians allowed). Imagine what that does to a small builder's cashflow, never mind having to give away 2 out of every 5 houses to a housing association!Antony Atkins, Added: Tuesday, 25 September 2012 02:32 PM
There will be some form of 'U' turn short of a complete retraction. The Coalition in a state over the economy so measures in desperation are rushed in. This includes the virtual abandonment of S106 which even many Tory Councils are unhappy about.Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Friday, 21 September 2012 03:24 PM
Planning Authorities should have in place the ability to process small extensions within a month at the most. Yes, they need to ensure any development is within keeping of the local area and that all plans meet building control regulations but there is absolutely no reason why there should not be a "fast-track" system. This would be of great benefit.David Hankey, Added: Friday, 21 September 2012 03:11 PM
I agree that ill planned extensions adversely affect the local environment. We should actually be going in the opposite direction and requiring planning permission for all extensions. I have seen many appalling examples over the years of extensions with inappropriate materials, non matching bricks and roof tiles, windows that look into neighbouring properties, etc. We should however make the process straightforward and cheap and seek to determine most applications within a few weeks.Diane Rotherham, senior engineer, Amey, Added: Friday, 21 September 2012 03:02 PM
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