Council leader asks MPs to back 'common sense' approach to garden developments

Local councils should be allowed to decide what sort of development is acceptable for gardens within their area – not the Government, says Council leader Tudor Evans.

He has written to the city’s three MPs calling on them to support an amendment to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which will allow local councils to choose whether or not to bring in permitted development changes put forward as proposals last September.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is planning to change the rules around building in back gardens, which would mean single-storey extensions of up to eight metres – about three times the size of the average home – could be built without needing planning permission.

In the letter to the MPs he says: “As you are aware, planning changes at the local level are often controversial. Removing the formal and transparent route to lodge concerns and for these concerns to be considered is likely to lead to tensions amongst neighbours. Local councillors and MPs jointly play an important role to resolve such tensions as part of the planning process. It is therefore right that decisions of this nature remain at the local level.”

Last September Councillor Evans warned that Government proposals to relax the planning system would set neighbour upon neighbour, allowing massive extensions to blight homes surrounding an extension.

Now he is urging the city’s MPs to support an amendment that would enable councils to opt out of this part of the bill and ensure extensions are subject to the planning process, allowing people to make their views and concerns known about proposed developments.

He said: “Members of the House of Lords from all political affiliations united to pass this amendment, which represents a common sense compromise and defends an important principle of localism.

“The amendment would not prevent the Government reforms but rather allows an authority to make the local choice, and if they think it necessary, to opt out of the reform. This is a modest and compromising approach, which I hope you will be able to support.”

The amendment on permitted development will be debated in the House of Commons on 16 April.