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PLANNING RED TAPE TO BE CUT

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Planning permission for loft conversions, home extensions and conservatories could become easier to obtain under ch...
Planning permission for loft conversions, home extensions and conservatories could become easier to obtain under changes expected to be announced today.

Communities secretary Ruth Kelly is expected to reveal the plans in what will be one of the biggest transformations to the planning system.

Under the current system homeowners hoping to extend or improve their home can face lengthy waits with their local council's planning department as well as fees of up to£1,000.

Changes to improve a homeowner's carbon footprint, such as the installation of solar panels and wind turbines, are also currently subject to the obtaining of relevant planning permission.

It is hoped that by easing the planning applications process, the demand for homes in the UK can be lessened in some way.

'The local planning system should support people's aspirations to improve their homes rather than act as a barrier. Many people do not want to move but do want more room,' Ms Kelly is expected to announce.

However the plans could receive fierce opposition from neighbourhood schemes as many fear the changes could make it harder to appeal against changes made by their neighbours which block sunlight to their own property or are considered to be an eyesore.

'We need a faster system, but obviously we can't have people simply building a garage where they like, if it cuts out a neighbour's view,' Local Government Association chair Lord Sandy Bruce Lockhart said.

LGA Government plans must not harm environment or local democracy

The other big change expected is for a national independent commission to replace planning inquiries to speed up major building projects such as airport terminals and power stations.

On Wednesday, the Royal Town Planning Institute will publish a report 'providing clear practical examples for streamlining and joining-up public and private sector investment planning'.

Communities

Regeneration & transport

Policy & politics

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