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Redbridge planning chief and Lib Dem councillors condemn proposed relaxation of regulations

PUBLISHED: 12:10 02 October 2012 | UPDATED: 13:24 02 October 2012

The head of planning at Redbridge Council has joined fellow Liberal Democrat councillors to condemn the proposed relaxation of planning regulations.

The head of planning at Redbridge Council has joined fellow Liberal Democrat councillors to condemn the proposed relaxation of planning regulations.

Cllr Shoaib Patel, cabinet member for planning, Cllr Richard Hoskins, chair of the regulatory committee and Cllr Ian Bond, deputy council leader, are lobbying the government to reconsider the proposals.

Last month, the coalition announced plans to allow people to build larger house extensions and make shop and office expansions and housing developments easier.

The change, which would last for three years, aims to boost the economy.

But Cllr Patel said councils should have the power to regulate planning locally without the government “interfering”.

He added: “The desire to stimulate the economy is understandable, but I don’t think this is the way to go about it.

“Nationally there is already planning permission for 400,000 homes that haven’t yet been built.

“This suggests that it is the state of the housing market, and not planning, which is holding up new developments.”

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

Cllr Bond said: “Planning regulations are there for a good reason and they protect people from unwanted developments next door.

“Apart form the fact the policy hasn’t really been thought through very well, there’s a large risk of neighbour disputes as well.”

Cllr Hoskins also worried that the change could ruin relationships between neighbours.

He said: “Local people and local councils are the best judges of what developments are acceptable in any area.”

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said Conservative councillors also had concerns.

He added: “What’s coming out at the moment doesn’t seem to be very clever but we need to see the details.

“There could be some advantages but you don’t want to take away the power to regulate from local authorities and go back to the free-for-all before the 1940s.

“If the law is passed, it will be a matter for the councillors’ consciences if they can continue in their roles if they oppose the policy so much.”

A public consultation on the proposed changes is running until January at www.communities.gov.uk.


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