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Government's consultation on permitted development rights for homeowners: Committee's response

20 December 2012

Development rights for homeowners: Government plans ignore its own sustainable development policy, says Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee.

The Government’s plans to extend planning permission exemptions are based on an inadequate impact assessment, warns the CLG Committee in a report published today. By failing to take account of the social and environmental effects, the same proposals also ignore two essential requirements of the sustainable development policy set out in the National Policy Planning Framework, say the MPs.

The report responds to the Government's consultation on permitted development rights for homeowners, published on 12 November.

Commenting on the report, CLG Committee Chair Clive Betts said,

"First, the Government has produced very little hard evidence, and its impact assessment was not credible. Second, it has ignored two of the essential requirements of its own policy on sustainable development as set out in its own National Planning Policy Framework – to take account of the environmental and social effects, as well as the economic."

The Government's proposals would double the exemption from planning permission for extensions to certain kinds of housing – for a period of three years the size limits for the depth of single-storey extensions for detached houses would increase from 4m to 8m and from 3m to 6m for all other houses in non-protected areas.

The Committee found the Government's rationale for these changes unconvincing and asked it to reconsider.

 The Committee also has concerns that the relaxation in the planning rules would be far from temporary.
Clive Betts said,

"The effects of this temporary relaxation of the planning rules will be new development which will have a permanent effect on neighbours and localities. I am uneasy that the proposed change will therefore be temporary in any manner. If a change to the planning rules is justified, it should be permanent. If it is not justified, it should not be made. The Government needs to go back to the drawing board."