Lincolnshire councils fear new planning reforms could lead to neighbour disputes
CONCERNS that proposed planning reforms could result in 'ad-hoc development' have been raised by council leaders.
East Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council have both voiced their fears about the possible impact on communities of the Prime Minister's plans to allow larger extensions without the need for planning permission.
Under existing rules, an extension of less than four metres does not need planning permission.
However, the government is consulting on raising the limit to eight metres as part of a package of reforms unveiled by David Cameron and Nick Clegg earlier this month.
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Portfolio holder for planning at ELDC, Councillor Craig Leyland, said: "Whilst we recognise the need for development to drive the economy this is already facilitated by the existing planning framework.
"We are extremely concerned about the potential impact of the proposed changes to planning legislation, which would allow homeowners to build out up to 26 feet from their property without the need for planning consent.
"Not only could ad-hoc development cause devaluation in areas of the district but it is also likely to cause chaos in communities with neighbour disputes."
Lincolnshire County Council has asked all district authorities to resist the more relaxed planning rules and follow the lead of Richmond council who have said they will try to block the building "free-for-all".
Executive member for planning at LCC, Councillor Eddy Poll, said: "Not only will these changes inevitably lead to more neighbourly disputes, but there's also a danger that a rash of extensions could increase flood risk in certain areas.
"On top of that, there's undoubtedly going to be an impact on the Lincolnshire landscape.
"Developments of this size have to be carefully considered, balancing the needs of the local community as a whole.
"A free-for-all is not the way to go, and we hope that our district colleagues will do everything they can to stop it from happening."