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Will relaxing planning rules benefit UK?
THE ink has only recently dried on the National Planning Policy guidelines. We are now being informed by the Government that the planning regulations are to be changed in order to stimulate growth in the construction sector.
So far as the relaxation of the rules as they affect extensions to property are concerned, the suggested bureaucratic delays associated with the existing arrangements are simply untrue for the majority of applications.
Both City of York and parish councils process applications quickly; significant delays normally only occur when there are planning issues relating to massing of buildings and/or detrimental effects on neighbouring properties.
It seems that the Government’s ideas about decentralising decision making and the promotion of Localism are heading the same way as those about the “Big Society”.
David Randon, Chairman, Wheldrake Parish Council, Blue Slates Close, Wheldrake, York.
• The temporary relaxation of planning permission with the intent to speed up building of housing extensions and new builds might be good idea.
The improvement in the availability of finance will also help.
However, the most difficult permission needed before any project large or small can begin, will certainly be permission from neighbours and NIMBYS.
Oh, and of course the “human rights” aspects for all concerned. Keep all things “crossable” crossed.
J Beisly, Osprey Close, York.
• I AM delighted to hear the Prime Minister has announced plans to boost house-building which will significantly boost economic growth and create much needed employment.
This follows hotly in the tracks of the York Labour group’s refusal to discuss my group’s affordable housing motion and further insult this week by brushing off my colleagues on the local development working group who again tried to broach the subject.
Labour has so far remained blinkered to pleas from developers. Their policies have long proved to be not only a hindrance but a complete obstacle to addressing housing needs.
It is hoped that the Government announcement will assist in forcing their hand into some action by removing restrictions on house builders to “help unlock homes currently stalled due to sites being commercially unviable”.
This is particularly relevant in York where developers continue to be held to unreasonable demands in difficult economic circumstances.
In a further wake up call to the Labour-controlled council, the Government has indicated it will put pressure on poor performing planning authorities by putting them into “special measures”.
Coun Paul Doughty, Conservative, Strensall ward.
• THE refusal of the ruling Labour group to debate a Conservative proposal for a new affordable housing policy at the latest local development framework (LDF) meeting was disgraceful. It was the Labour group who specifically deferred that motion from a full council meeting to the LDF group.
To then cancel two LDF meetings and fail to include it on the agenda when a meeting is finally held shows that the politburo has no intention of allowing free debate on the initiatives of other political groups.
The excuse by Coun Merrett that not enough time had been allowed for officers to carry out investigations is ridiculous.
This issue has supposed to have been under continuous monitoring and “investigation” for years, with report after report being published by the army of housing-cum-planning officials employed by the council at taxpayers’ expense.
What we need is less people writing reports and more people laying bricks. And we need it now.
Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk.