Housing Minister Robert Jenrick has announced that, from 31 August, householders will be able to build a two-storey extension to their property with the normal planning rules ceasing to apply, and the Oldham Liberal Democrats are far from happy about the change.
Under the new permitted development rules, Liberal Democrat Councillors are concerned that there will be few checks and balances on what goes up, and that poorly planned and executed developments, which ride roughshod over local objections, could be an eyesore and cause neighbourhood tensions.
Commenting the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, said: “There has always been an opportunity for homeowners to extend their property, but only if planning considerations are met and neighbours are consulted. Now with this change, these planning safeguards will be thrown in the bin.”
“Nonetheless, I would urge those householders wishing to exercise their right to build to be responsible, to talk to their neighbours about their plans, and to pick materials and designs in keeping with the neighbourhood. I am sure most will. However, I am also that sure some selfish property owners will build extensions which will block out the light, and affect the amenity, of neighbouring properties, and cause resentment between neighbours that could fester for years and end up in the courts.”
“We already have problems with absentee landlords neglecting their properties and letting them fall into rack and ruin whilst still reaping extortionate rents from the tenant. This change may well encourage these same landlords to seek to cash in by throwing-up something on the cheap in order to cram more tenants into a bigger property for which they can charge yet more rent.”
Councillor Sykes is convinced that only a renewed national house building programme can provide the best solution for Britain’s housing shortage: “This is another example of this out-of-touch Conservative Government adopting a quick-fix, hair-brained policy thinking this will solve Britain’s housing crisis. It won’t. What we most need are at least 100,000 new homes across the UK every year, particularly homes which are affordable to buy or rent.”