Council - proposals to allow home extensions of up to eight metres are ‘just plain wrong’

Proposals to allow household extensions of up to eight metres without a planning application are “just plain wrong” and could lead to “all out warfare” between neighbours.

At a meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, on Thursday, Redbridge Council unanimously agreed to pursue ways to protect the borough’s residents if the government allow extensions to take place without consultation.

Cllr Alex Wilson said: “This policy is just plain wrong for the country and wrong for our residents. We are all agreed that the proposal is unnecessary.

“We have submitted a detailed response expressing our fear at this change but we have been ignored. Despite the amendment allowing neighbours 21 days to object, it has not gone far enough.”

Under the new proposal, the council must decide whether a development would have an “unacceptable impact on neighbours’ amenity” should objections arise.

Cllr Wilson said: “We need to keep planning consistent and promote equality among developers instead of a disregard for well drafted policy.

“Plus there will be a significant financial cost. I can reveal a [predicted] loss of application fees of around £125,000 a year. We don’t want to stop development but manage it. They seek to meddle in a system that works well enough.”

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The idea behind the plan is to give residents a chance to “fast-track” improvements on their home.

Cllr Richard Hoskins said: “This is nonsense.

“Councillors know their patch but this will be destroyed and undermined and we need to resist these proposals.”

Cllr Harold Moth said: “This will cause irate neighbours and all out warfare in certain wards.”

The council acknowledged the government has recognised that neighbours affected by development have a right to be heard.

But a motion supported by councillors said the government policy does not “adequately” protect the interests of current and future occupiers.

Cllr Jas Athwal added: “The government is taking away the fees and leaving us with extra work. “I hope we can do something about their political masters plotting against us.”