Yes Minister, the planned planning free-for-all is no longer planned

  • @NigelpMorris

Ministers tonight completed an embarrassing retreat over their proposed planning free-for-all.

The Government has been hit by protests by MPs of all parties over moves to let homeowners to build extensions of up to 8m (26ft) without obtaining planning permission - double the current limit. Critics said the moves would provoke rows between neighbours.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, announced that neighbours would be allowed to object to such projects. It would amount to a "light-touch" consultation scheme, he said.

In a letter to MPs last night he acknowledged worries about the "potential impact" of larger extensions on "neighbours' amenity" and concerns over their inability to intervene.

His announcement marked a significant U-turn over an initiative championed by David Cameron as a way of cutting through red tape and providing a boost to the building industry.

The plans will be debated in House of Lords on Monday.