Waltham Forest Lib Dems warn Government that planning change 'recipe for disaster'
Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have criticised Government proposals to relax planning laws for a three-year period and labelled them a 'recipe for disaster'. The Lib Dems successfully passed a motion at full council receiving cross-party support to oppose the changes proposed by the government.
The Government announced in the summer plans to kick start the building industry. A public consultation was launched to extend the exemption for planning permission for home extensions of up to 6 metres. Legislation currently allows for extensions up to 3 metres to avoid the planning process. If the proposals became law, owners of street properties could find their rear windows flanked by six-metre extensions on both sides, plunging them into darkness for most of the day.
Developers could be allowed to by-pass planning controls to fast-track commercial and housing applications. Business premises would be able to expand by 100sq metres and industrial units by 200sq metres. Offices would be permitted to convert to residential use all without planning permission, irrespective of the impact they would have on a neighbourhood.
Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats fear the plans will potentially block out light, split communities, damage conservation policies and do nothing to encourage economic growth locally that is not achieved already.
The Government's proposals are currently out for consultation. Liberal Democrats at their annual conference also rejected the move overwhelmingly.
Liberal Democrat Planning Spokesperson, Councillor Liz Phillips, said:
"These proposals are a recipe for disaster. They have not been properly thought through. If this is allowed to happen it could set neighbour against neighbour and split communities in Waltham Forest for years to come.
"On top of the resentment and loss of quality of life, some people's houses will also plummet in value if they've got no light or a noisy factory is within a few metres of their front door.
"There is no evidence that this will do anything to promote economic growth in Waltham Forest. The Government needs to ditch these divisive and unnecessary plans."