Ministers and Peers have been presented with a compromise proposal from the government, following the recent backlash against its plans to allow home owners to build large extensions without needing to apply for planning permission.
The proposed rules, amending permitted development rights, had been designed to remove the barriers currently in place to homeowners, and to help those who are having difficulty selling or getting additional finance to move.
A recent vote in the Commons on a proposed amendment forwarded by the House of Lords, to allow Council’s to opt out of this change to permitted development rights, was narrowly won by the government, despite a number of Tory backbenchers also speaking out against the government’s plans.
Communities secretary, Eric Pickles, had told the Commons that this issue was “eminently bridgeable” and that he would like the opportunity to make that bridge. The compromise proposal is the attempt at making that bridge and proposes a ‘light touch’ 21-day neighbour consultation process to be followed before extension proposals could be implemented.
Property Aspects magazine spoke with planning consultant and Director of Summit Planning Associates, Amanda Olley. She explained: “In general terms I suspect many homeowners will be pleased about the new plans as, to date, the unpredictability of the planning system has probably stopped a lot of people from considering the ‘extension’ avenue.”
She continued, “Concerns levied against the government’s plans have included, an expected increase in unsightly and unsuitable extensions and in the number of disputes between neighbours. The compromise proposal presented by the government is akin to the ‘prior approval’ process that is not unfamiliar in other areas of planning. In these circumstances, the best case scenario is a delay of 21 days, if no objections are raised and the worst case scenario, is the home owner still ends up drawn into an unpredictable and costly process that ultimately gets them no further forward.”
Property Aspects Magazine appreciates the contribution to this article from Amanda Olley at Summit Planning Associates.