News round-up 12/10: Outcry over planning reforms
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The Local Government Association’s attack on a plan to allow residents to freely extend their homes has made the front page of the Daily Mail.
The LGA warned ministers that the plan to allow extensions of up to six metres without planning permission would encourage unsightly development and spark tension between neighbours.
It said that last year councils rejected only 22,000 of the 200,000 applications they received and argued that without scrutiny by planners unacceptable building would occur.
Environment board chair Mike Jones (Con) said: “This policy potentially gives the green light to unsightly and out-of-place development without delivering a big enough boost to the construction industry to justify the potential damage.
“The planning process works to ensure development is suitable for a local area and doesn’t unduly impact neighbours. Loosening rules around extensions would eliminate this vital mediation process in a large number of cases.”
Lincolnshire CC, Richmond-upon-Thames and Sutton LBCs and Plymouth City Councils are among councils that have already denounced the idea, and Sutton has had a meeting with planning minister Nick Boles to warn him of the damage it could cause.
Electoral administration officers would face the challenge of trying to register 16 and 17 years olds if plans proceed to allow them to vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, the Independent reports.
The paper reports commentators arguing that if young voters took part in this poll it would be logically difficult to refuse them the right to vote in all elections.
Social care funding
A thinktank has called for a tax on pensioners’ universal benefits to fund social care reform, the Daily Telegraph reports.
It says the group, United for All Ages, has set out a list of reasons why the Dilnot commission’s proposals are “flawed” – including that the cap on care costs would not cover accommodation costs.
The thinktank’s report also suggests making pensioners wait until they are 70 or 75 before they can claim a free bus pass or winter fuel allowance.
Chancellor George Osborne is said to be “fuming” after energy secretary Ed Davey forced through approval for a giant incineration plant in Mr Osborne’s Cheshire constituency, writes the Guardian.
The chancellor was the first to sign a 25,000-name petition against a new energy-from-waste plant that will process 600,000 tonnes of rubbish every year, the paper says.
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