Council opposition to relaxation of planning regulations

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SOUTH Holland could follow other councils in challenging a Government relaxation of planning rules.

The Government is currently looking at the idea of easing the regulations, which would allow homeowners to build up to 8m extensions without seeking planning permission.

But the proposal has met with fierce opposition by many involved in planning at a local level amid fears it would lead to more neighbour disputes and lead to overdevelopment.

Lincolnshire County Council is among those opposed to the idea with executive member for planning Eddy Poll urging district councils to challenge the plans.

He said: “Not only will these changes inevitably lead to more neighbour disputes, but there’s also a danger that a rash of extensions could increase flood risk in certain areas.

“On top of that, there’s undoubtedly going to be an impact on the Lincolnshire landscape.

“Developments of this size have to be carefully considered, balancing the needs of the local community as a whole.

“A free-for-all is not the way to go, and we hope that our district colleagues will do everything they can to stop it from happening.”

Current rules allow homeowners to build a 10ft extension if they live in a terraced property and one of 13ft if they live in a detached house, without planning permission.

That would double to 20ft and 26ft respectively for a three-year period only, in a Government bid to revive the economy.

South Holland district councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, who is chairman of the planning committee, said he and fellow planners would be following with interest how councils such as Richmond got on in their bid to block the changes and would be “actively looking” at going along the same lines.

He said: “We are seriously concerned about the effect these monster extensions could have and the lack of control over them.

“I can’t see how it will help kickstart the economy and it will be exploited by those who will see it as an opportunity to squeeze as many beds into a property as possible.

“For each extension you can have people living left, right and rear whose lives will be affected by it and we have a responsibilty to look after the interests of everyone.”