‘New housing applications won’t clog up our system’: Cabinet approve planning changes

Councillor Sue Polhill
Councillor Sue Polhill

District council is looking to speed up household planning applications in a move which could save more than £150,000.

Cabinet approved introducing local development orders which will enable small household extensions to go through without having to make a formal planning application, so long as it meets set design requirements and neighbours are given notice.

Currently the council receives 1000 household applications a year with 90% of these referred to officers without any amendment.

However, the process involves consultations with parishes, publicity and in some cases site visits costing time and money.

Planned development, design and conservation guru Sue Polhill argued that by removing this stage efficiency will be improved.

She said: “If all the criteria is met permission will be given in two weeks.

“These are applications that would have gone through anyway under delegated powers.

“The benefit is the speed of the determination and you don’t have to wait seven or eight weeks.”

The orders only apply to simple planning cases such as single, two-storey and first floor rear extensions as well as single storey side extensions to detached and semi detached houses which can meet a generic design code.

Terraced houses are excluded because extensions would affect adjoining properties.

Listed buildings and conservation area buildings are not allowed either as they raise other policy implications.

Resources cabinet member, Neil Blake, said: “The current applications are clogging up our system dramatically.

“It’s got great advantages and it’s going to reduce our costs.”

Councillor Polhill said the potential change, should it be approved by council, is ‘common sense’.

She stressed the need for councillors to go and talk to their parish councils and residents to allay any fears.