More confusion over home extensions
If you are thinking of extending your house things might have got a bit more confusing. If you watched as I did, BBC1 Sunday Politics, we were treated to the wildly unusual views of Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP on how people can more easily extend their homes, adding a conservatory or bedroom, or changing redundant or agricultural buildings to other commercial uses.
Pickles announced a change in planning regulations to increase the size of extensions under Permitted Development Rights, when residents or commerce can increase their building footprint by more than the current plus-50-per cent limit.
He is also substantially relaxing Section-106 arrangements, when most developers have previously been forced to financially fund a community need such as a playground. Bath & North East Somerset Council planning committee naysayers are concerned the Pickles changes will increase neighbour disputes whilst lowering the design quality of buildings, whereas neighbouring council lassaiz faire political leadership continue like ostriches with their heads stuck in the sand.
Sunday Politics presenter Andrew Neill asked the Secretary of State what he was going to do about recalcitrant councils who refused to cooperate and Pickles answered ominously, "there are more announcements to come", and, "councils can use an Article-4 arrangement." Oh dear. An Article-4 Direction substantially restricts Permitted Development Rights, which means that things people do to land or houses without permission will require local council approval for everything in future. Article-4 arrangements have historically been a rarely used bureaucratic tool that was ineffective and was difficult to apply. On the face of it things like a garden shed or front porch are treated as untouchable scheduled monuments.
Limited Deal. All day wedding photography only £545.00View details
All day wedding photography only £545.00
From Bridal preparations to first dance.
250+ Hi Res images on disc with full printing rights.
Professional photography at affordable prices.
Free no obligation consultations.
Offer subject to availability.
Book before 31st May 2013.
Available in Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.
Contact: 01225 439257
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Last March, the Bath Spa University Students Union opposed an Article-4 in Bath because it would place additional and unnecessary strain on an already over stretched council budget. Generally, the clash between residents and business is caused by a lack of context. On one hand a planning authority says it must deal with each application divorced from a neighbouring application even though both are frequently and nonsensically considered concurrently. On the other hand, Pickles believes it is a duty for planning authorities to consider planning application contextual impact on neighbours and in a regional context, but not ostrich-like behaviour that symbolises a refusal to recognise reality.
ADRIAN DOBINSON MA DipArchCons Planning Consultant at Renaissance Architectural Ltd Wood Street Bath