Revolt over Government proposals to allow homeowners to build big extensions leads to compromise

Minister promises revised approach to relaxation of planning law after Tory backlash

Ministers are in retreat over plans to allow homeowners to build big extensions on their houses without planning permission in the face of a bitter backlash from both Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs.

As a series of angry backbenchers attacked him over the move, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, sought to mollify his critics by promising to water down the scheme championed by David Cameron and George Osborne.

The Coalition still suffered a sizeable Commons rebellion on the issue, with 16 Conservatives and eight Liberal Democrats defying their whips to cut the Government’s majority to just 27.

The rebellion focuses on proposals to allow people to construct extensions and conservatories of up to 8m (26ft) on their homes – double the current limit – without requiring approval from their council. The rules would be relaxed for three years.

Mr Pickles argues the move will cut through unnecessary red tape and give a much-needed boost to the building industry. But critics, backed by several local authorities, have protested that it would amount to a planning free-for-all that led to disputes between neighbours.

The Communities Secretary promised to announce “a revised approach” on the “contentious question” when the plans are discussed next week in the House of Lords. He said: “I believe this is eminently bridgeable and I would like the opportunity to make that bridge.”

The revolt has been led by Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park, who has denounced the plans as “very bad, clumsy politics” which would prove deeply unpopular and put neighbours at odds.

He challenged Mr Pickles to give “greater clarity” about its plans to amend the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

The minister replied: “You will have nothing to lose because you will be involved in the discussions. We will seek to try and arrive at a sensible compromise.”

Several senior Conservatives expressed their anger over his failure to disclose more detail. The former Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan, the MP for Chesham, said: “I am afraid we are not going to believe what you say at that despatch box until we see it in black and white.”

The MP for High Peak, Andrew Bingham, said: “We’ve heard about monstrous carbuncles. I think we could end up with a lot of small warts on properties.”

Stewart Jackson, the MP for Peterborough, said: “We have seldom had a situation where so many Conservative councillors and councils and other bodies have united to say this is very bad legislation, it offends against the principle of localism.”

The Lords voted last month to give individual councils the power to reject the relaxation of planning rules.

The Conservative Lord True, who is the leader of Richmond Council and who put forward the amendment, attacked the Coalition’s home extensions proposal as “ludicrous”.

Following their narrow victory in the Commons, ministers will seek to overturn the Lords vote next week. It is at this point that they will unveil their compromise.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall