Householder Development Consents Review
The following is my response to the Department for Communities and Local Government review set up to examine the current requirements of the regulatory regimes for minor developments by householders such as house extensions, fencing, ancillary buildings, tree felling and pruning.
I am writing in response to the Steering Group Report.
I agree with the principle of moving from a volume-based approach towards one based on impact but it is not at all clear from the report how this would work, so I would reserve my judgement until specific proposals are introduced. I would definitely agree with the ombudsman that permitted developments that take up a large proportion of back gardens, usually free-standing, need to be restricted.
As well as Local Development Orders that extend permitted rights, I believe there should be powers to restrict standard permitted rights in defined areas. I have an area in my constituency adjacent to Birmingham University that has a very high population of students. Already, most of the small terraced houses built with two or three bedrooms have had a downstairs room converted into a bedroom, causing an excessively high density in the adult population with consequential problems for rubbish collection, street cleaning, garden maintenance and car parking. This is now being compounded by a spate of extensions and loft/dormer window installations as landlords seek to maximise their rental income. Some of these developments have not required planning permission but the most others are being approved because they are in compliance with the Council's general policy on such developments.
It is my contention that the Council already has powers to seek to issue supplementary planning guidance to restrict at least those extensions that do not have permitted development rights and I should welcome clarification that this is the case.
However I would also wish to see restrictions applied to current permitted development rights in atypical areas such as areas of "studentification" as described above because of the cumulative impact they are having in the neighbourhood. If this is the outcome of any new regime proposed as a result of the recommendation to move to an evaluation of "impact", I will be very pleased.
Finally, whilst agreeing in principle to extending permitted development rights where neighbours are in agreement, I would wish to flag up the need to be aware that occasionally (through excentricity of malice) an immediate neighbour may be willing to put up with an onerous development and consideration would need to be made of the views of other local people that may not be as directly affected.
I trust my views will be taken into account.
LYNNE JONES MP
link to the DCLG review
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'Studentification' in Bournbrook