Minister to investigate Sutton's criticisms of planning law proposals
Planning minister Nick Boles has promised to look into Sutton Council’s criticisms of Government proposals to relax planning laws.
He made the promise after a meeting on Tuesday, October 7, with council leader Ruth Dombey and the housing, economy and business chair for Sutton Council, Jayne McCoy.
Last month the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, issued a nine-point plan in which he proposed to relax planning regulations to help the construction industry.
However, Sutton Council fear that if the proposals became law the owners of mid-terrace homes with their rear windows flanked by extensions would be plunged in to darkness.
There are concerns that developers could bypass planning controls to fast-track commercial and housing applications.
Offices would be permitted to convert to residential use all without planning permission, irrespective of the impact they would have on a neighbourhood.
Councillor Dombey said: "We used the meeting to explain the impact on neighbourhoods and communities of relaxing the planning rules.
"It was a very useful discussion and the minister promised that he would pay careful attention to Sutton’s response to the consultation."
The leader of the opposition, Councillor Graham Whitham expressed his disappointment that they were not involved in the meeting.
He said: "Why does the leader of the council ask for a united approach over opposition to the proposed planning changes for extensions - yet refused to involve the opposition in the recent meeting with a junior minister?
"I contacted both the leadership office and councillor McCoy personally with an offer to join in but no response was forthcoming. I expect we will be told it was all a mistake or someone else’s fault.
"This will, however, not stop me taking the opportunity of a forthcoming meeting with the Secretary of State to press our view point on our resident’s behalf."
The official consultation is due to begin soon and should last six weeks.