Planning Changes

MQT on 2013-05-22
Session date: 
May 22, 2013
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Will the Mayor be having any discussions with the Government regarding the proposed planning changes for household extensions?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Planning Changes

Answer for Planning Changes

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thanks, Steve, yes. This is a serious matter and we are aware of it, Steve, and we made strong representations to Government, as you know, and you have made vociferous interjections on this point. It is very important that we do not allow this proposed change to be abused and to become an excuse for building eyesores and garden-grabbing.

Steve O'Connell (AM): Yes, thank you, Mr Mayor. This Government is jam-packed with good ideas about getting the economy moving, but the liberalisation of the planning system in this proposal I think we agree is ill-thought because it could, taken to the nth degree, lead to inappropriate extensions and neighbourhood tension. So, Mr Mayor, I take it that you are pleased with the success that we have had in getting the Government to reconsider its earlier proposals?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, and there are going to be some changes to this, and we will monitor the whole progress of this very carefully to make sure that there is no garden-grabbing.

Steve O'Connell (AM): Yes, I mean certainly what I would ask also your support is around extending the notification period for neighbours. At the moment it is 21 days and we really want to ensure (bearing in mind this is a lighter touch in the planning arena) we would like that period extended certainly to 28 days and I would rather hope, Mr Mayor, that you could lend your support to that request.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): That sounds reasonable to me. Obviously there is a balance to be struck; people have to have a reasonable right to improve their homes, but what you cannot have is a complete annihilation of protections of the neighbourhood against excrescences and against garden-grabbing.

Steve O'Connell (AM): I think one other concern that we have is about the inability of councils to charge out the application costs to the applicant and you will know that borough councils, particularly their planning departments, are under a lot of pressure at the moment and we think that is rather inappropriate because it puts an impact on local taxpayers. So would you support us in urging that those costs can be charged out to the applicant, Mr Mayor?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): That sounds reasonable to me.

Steve O'Connell (AM): OK, thank you very much.