Public concerns emerge about relaxation of planning laws

New poll shows worries about effect of poorly-designed extensions on local neighbourhoods

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The Independent Online

Today's YouGov survey for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) shows that 54 per cent of people believe that the government's plan to remove the need for planning permission for extensions would mean the quality of the design of their neighbourhood would get worse. Only 7 per cent think that it will get better.                

RIBA has already voiced its own concerns about design quality and is now urging the government to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to prevent poorly-designed new extensions as part of its consultation on the proposal.

It is also asking them to take into account the private cost to homeowners who may need to rectify mistakes of poorly designed extensions built without appropriate checks and balances.                    

Chair of the RIBA Planning Group, Ruth Reed, said: "The government's new policy is rushed and if implemented could pave the way for poor design decisions which could damage our built environment for years to come. We agree that there is a need to reduce the red tape in our current planning system but as the British public have clearly expressed, this policy change must be more carefully considered to ensure we make our neighbourhoods better not worse."     

The poll also revealed that the proposed planning reforms have left half of public respondents worried about losing their influence over new extensions in their local area, with 20 per cent "very worried". Only 10 per cent are "not worried at all".