We can simplify planning, and speed up public procurement, and perhaps we would then be faster in building the homes young people need; and we might decide that it was indeed absolutely necessary for every environmental impact assessment to monitor two life cycles of the snail and build special swimming pools for newts – not all of which they use – but it would at least be our decision.
The government has said it will loosen planning rules in a bid to ease the housing crisis, with homeowners being given permission to build upwards.
“The answer to building new homes isn’t always an empty plot, or developing on a derelict site,” said housing secretary Sajid Javid.“We need to be more creative and make more effective use of the space we already have available.”
The plans are part of the government’s efforts to tackling the housing crisis and are part of its housing white paper published last year.
The proposal would make it easier to build upwards with homes, shops and flats being extended by up to two extra storeys, as long as it is in keeping with the surrounding area.
Javid added that the move would “encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs”.
Under the proposals, to apply in built-up inner-city areas in England, property owners would still need planning permission. But planning guidance to local councils would be relaxed – meaning town halls would be under pressure to allow extensions to go ahead.
Former Planning Minister Nick Boles said last night: ‘This will be a powerful incentive to growing families who want more space but do not want to spend money on stamp duty and the costs of moving.’
But he added: ‘It’s a step in the right direction but ultimately, it’s a lot less effective than giving them permitted development.’