Harlow residents to be given vote on proposed extensions to properties

Business / Wed 11th May 2022 am31 06:29am

RESIDENTS will be given the right to vote on proposed extensions to properties in their area, as part of planning reforms aimed at giving communities more say reports then BBC.

But the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, published on Wednesday, scraps controversial proposals to make it harder to block development, after a Tory backlash.

Conservative MPs feared the plans cost them votes in crucial by-elections.

A source said Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove had listened to concerns.

It is understood a proposal for a zonal system will be dropped – which would would have seen certain areas earmarked for housing growth and some development applications automatically approved.

Ministers are also expected to confirm that legally-binding housing targets are being scrapped.

Instead, Mr Gove will promise communities control over what is happening in their area, with measures such as “street votes” allowing them to decide whether new extensions and other developments can go ahead.

Housing is a key challenge for the government, which pledged to build 300,000 houses a year by the mid-2020s. Sources say that target remains.

Making it easier to approve developments was a key part of its initial strategy after Boris Johnson won the general election in 2019.

The original plan would have seen local councils in England having to classify all land in their area as either “protected”, for “renewal”, or for “growth”.

Councils would then have had to look favourably on developments in “renewal” areas, whilst in “growth” zones, applications conforming to pre-agreed local plans would automatically gain initial approval.

Ministers also wanted to introduce binding local quotas.

But the plans sparked a significant Tory backlash – with some in the party saying the policy had contributed to by-election losses in former Conservative heartlands.

The government believes its new plans will give communities more of an opportunity to shape what happens in their area – and stronger grounds to resist unwanted developments.

Under Mr Gove’s plans, communities will be able to hold votes on whether planning permission should be granted for extensions to existing homes on their street. 

Ministers are planning design codes, which would see local communities set rules about the layout of new developments and materials which could be used. 

And they hope a new infrastructure levy – to be determined locally – will increase funds for projects such as schools, hospitals and roads by basing the sum on the value of the property when it is sold, rather than when it gets planning permission.

The planning system will also be digitised, making plans more accessible online. 

Ministers want to modernise the system, which often sees notices on lamp posts to alert people to local proposals.

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3 Comments for Harlow residents to be given vote on proposed extensions to properties:

2022-05-11 07:46:47

A recipe for more disaster. Wants to make the system more local Street by street yet it appears no notices on lamp posts in the immediate vicinity of the development. That way those who aren't online searching incessantly for Council notices (99.99% of the population have better things to do) miss the information. Gove makes assumptions that neighbours will be fair minded, expert and rational. What is needed is a clear planning system that respects the quality of life, the built and natural environments with well defined criteria for development. These criteria could be derived by local extensive consultation and even a voting process directly to the residents in a ward. These could be binding on Councils to prevent planning decisions being pre determined along party lines. The local council officers need to advise, arbitrate and be expert and the system needs to be clear and simple, not slanted towards developers but a level playing field where communities can have expert advice and legal representation for free. Otherwise the deep pockets of the developers tend to prevail. See Community Planning Alliance group on Facebook for more. The current planning system is broken but Mr G makes assumptions that are not practicable just as he did when he was minister for education.

Mary Terry
2022-05-11 18:53:10

The system now in Place where planning notices are put on lampposts is a good one. I would not vote for this to be discontinued as now it does alert you to what is proposed. Why cannot they also put it on line too

2022-05-11 22:09:01

They do put the planning proposals online Mary, but it's virtually impossible to use the planning portal website if you don't have a precise area or application number. If you internet search for "Harlow planning portal" to you'll find the details and portal search.

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