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Redbridge Council writes letter to government expressing ‘strongest opposition’ to planning free-for-all

11:14 03 January 2013

Redbridge Council has written to the government to express its “strongest opposition” to the proposed three-year relaxation of planning laws.

The plans would allow home owners to build extensions of up to 8m outside onto detached houses without permission.

Rules on shops and offices expanding and some housing developments would also be relaxed.

Government ministers said the change would boost the economy and employment in construction but the letter, signed by chief planning officer Mark Lucas, said it posed “an unacceptable threat” to Redbridge homes.

The letter outlined concerns over unwanted developments, neighbour disputes, damage to the character of local areas and removal of decision-making powers from the council.

It added: “It is unlikely that the proposals will achieve their stated objective to stimulate the construction industry.

“The planning system should not be made the scapegoat for wider failures of the domestic and international economy.”

Councillors from all parties voted to strengthen the wording of the letter at a full council meeting in November.

Conservative member Cllr Alex Wilson said: “I kept quiet on the budget omnishambles, on the pasty tax, on the Virgin trains fiasco, but I will not keep quiet on this.”

The government is considering consultation responses before finalising the proposals.

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