Friday, 21 September 2012

Backlash against planning relaxation grows

I am delighted to see that opposition to the recently proposed relaxation of planning rules across non protected areas continues to grow. In particular it is not acceptable to implement a three year relaxation of the rules to allow home extensions of up to eight meters to be built without permission. This may be all well and good in some rural areas but in built up urban areas it is a recipe for disaster setting neighbour against neighbour and leaving councils to try to pick up the pieces. Southend is one of the most densely populated authorities outside London and the reality is that what one house owner builds in their back garden often has a significant effect on their neighbours with issues as to loss of light and privacy. As Councillors we already find some extension applications contentious but at least we are all working to the same rules with the Development Control Committee acting , in effect, as an independent arbiter. I note an ally of the PM is now mentioning the need to create balance between homeowner and neighbour which hopefully signals an intention to rein back this policy before it is too late.

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