Kingston Rejects Changes to Planning Laws

Kingston Council has joined neighbouring councils Sutton and Richmond in rejecting government proposals to relax planning laws.

The coalition recently announced that planning regulations are to be relaxed for a three year period. The move will double the distance homeowners can extend without planning permission from four to eight metres from the rear wall of their house. Business owners will be able to extend shops by up to 100 square feet, and industrial units by up to 200 square feet.

A council spokesman said: “Whilst Kingston Council welcomes any changes that will help stimulate the economy it does not believe the proposed changes to planning regulations will have a significant impact. Indeed, there is a danger that this policy change may blight neighbouring properties and communities indefinitely.”

The spokesman went on to say that current limits to extensions are intended to preserve the character of the surrounding area. Extensions are already a source of contention between neighbours as they often affect neighbouring properties, blocking out light and creating a sense of enclosure. He also pointed out that in cases where planning permission is not needed, the process of applying for a certificate confirming an extension is a permitted development takes as long as applying for planning permission. He said: “It is unclear what additional benefits to economic growth would be achieved with these changes.”

At a council meeting on Tuesday 16th October, council members voted unanimously to oppose the government’s proposals to extend development rights, and rejected the Coalition Government’s claim that the planning system is stifling economic growth.

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