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Councillors voice fears over planning reform

Wed 7 November 2012, 3:26 pm

The London Borough of Bromley has voiced its concerns over the government's proposed relaxation of planning laws direct with planning minister Nick Boles.

At a recent meeting with councillors, Boles was urged to pass on fears over the plans to make it easier for residents to construct bigger home extensions to communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Following the meeting, council leader Stephen Carr and development control committee chair Peter Dean both spoke of their concern that a relaxation of existing law could create a “planning free-for-all” that future generations would have to bear the burden of.

Carr said the authority would fight any measure that would bypass residents’ views on the area’s built environment.

“Any variations on the current policy will undermine the rights of our residents to voice their views on what will affect their immediate surroundings and we will strongly oppose this,” he said.

Dean said the local determination of planning matters was vital for the retention of an area’s character.

“While we accept that the Government needs to find ways of stimulating the economy, we will not stand idly by and watch the autonomy of local communities being eroded,” he said.

“Our policy has always reflected a balance of development and protection of openness and green belt and we will oppose any changes to this." 

Under the proposed planning framework, new permitted-development rights could allow home owners to build significantly larger extensions than are currently allowed for the duration of a three-year “relaxation” window. 

Current permitted-development allows for extensions of four metres on a detached house and three metres on a semi-detached or terraced house. 

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