Keep control over home extensions, say chairman of Woodford Green Amenity Group and councillors

The council must be able to retain some control over unwanted home extensions of up to eight metres, according to the chairman of an amenity group and councillors.

The government wants to double the size of extensions which don’t need planning permission to give a boost to the building sector and a kick-start to the economy.

But an amendment from the House of Lords providing local authorities with an opt-out was only narrowly defeated in the Commons on Tuesday.

And Communities minister Eric Pickles has said there will be a “revised approach to the contentious question”.

Geoff Stimpson, chairman of the Woodford Green Amenity Group, said: “We’ve got to make sure that it’s controlled.

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“I think it’s a stupid piece of legislation and it shouldn’t be given any credence.

“I think the housing market can grow without this sort of thing.

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“The real thing is to build affordable housing.”

Under the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which will now return to the Lords, owners of semi-detached or terraced properties would be able to build extensions of up to six metres without planning permission.

And for detached homes, the permitted size would increase to eight metres.

Cllr Richard Hoskins, of Church End ward, said the “whole thing should be dropped” but an opt-out for Redbridge Council could be a “fall-back option”.

He said: “These plans, thought out on the back of a fag packet, are ill thought-out.

“If the legislation had gone through unchanged, it would have caused chaos and internal distress between one neighbour and another.

“I can see no economic advantage. If you want to get building going, we need to be building affordable homes on a managed scale not allowing builders to pick up the odd extension.”

And Cllr Paul Canal said the Lords amendment showed Mr Pickles that local authorities “take it very seriously indeed”.

He said: “In urban and suburban areas, it’s a recipe for chaos and you could get a long-term occurrence of carbuncles at the back of people’s homes.

“Redbridge Council, across the parties, voted against it.”

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