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Permitted development rights – stop the destruction of our suburbs!

July 30, 2020 8:00 AM

It emerged this month that the government intends to turn our finely-balanced planning system into a free-for-all. According to an email sent to all councillors by Barnet's Director Planning and Building Control, the Tory government wants to allow homeowners to build up to two storeys above their properties, as long as neighbours approve. These new 'permitted development rights' are a recipe for monstrous and potentially unsafe house extensions; these eyesores will inevitably then be subdivided up into precarious HMOs (houses of multiple occupation).

The government also wants to let a wider range of commercial buildings change to residential use - without the need for a planning application. The inevitable result will be rabbit-hutch flats which fail to hit minimum standards.

Photo credit: Instagram user @eastfinchleyn2

Everyone wants to see good quality new homes developed, but this is exactly the wrong approach. When it comes to safety and good design, the government wants to let developers off the hook.

What has been the response of Barnet's Tory councillors? Total silence. In London, 22 council leaders have signed a joint letter strongly opposing these new potential development proposals - but no one from Barnet signed the letter. While the Tories in Westminster plan a slash and burn attack on the planning powers of local councils, the Tories in Barnet are silently giving them the green light.

Barnet Liberal Democrats will fight for the preservation of crucial planning powers that keep our suburbs strong. We will keep you updated on this developing scandal.