A MAJOR Uttoxeter developer and borough councillor has welcomed Government plans to relax planning rules in a bid to get regulators ‘off people’s backs’.
Councillor Malcolm Barrett, who represents the Uttoxeter Town ward on East Staffordshire Borough Council, said a total review of planning laws was needed after Government proposals were announced last week.
It will see the Government consult on allowing people, for a three year period, to build larger extensions on houses, up to 8m long for detached homes and 6m for others.
Councillor Barrett (pictured) said: “I’m totally and utterly in favour of relaxing any rules appertaining to planning. Common sense has to prevail in some instances.
“Everybody’s hands are being held too tight.
There will now still be a bit of holding hands but not so tight.
“These are the measures that have got to be looked at because the planning laws are too tight and too long and drawn out.
“If they are relaxed and that’s followed through from central government to local government and they are told ‘you must get this done quicker’, that means people can get working quicker and then the money they earn is spent in the economy.” But although the Government had extended certain rights, it still needed to ease the restrictions governing them, he said.
“What they need to do is look at the guidelines to see if they can tweak them a bit to take it a bit further.
“They could be relaxed a bit and simplified.” Councillor Barrett said the Government’s announcement was ‘long overdue’ but that it ‘had to start somewhere’.
He said it should go a lot further, adding: “The total review of planning laws full stop is overdue, in my view.” However, he made it clear full-deregulation would be a bad move and that planning guidelines would always be necessary.
“I do know you can’t just say ‘do whatever you want’. That would be a catastrophe.”
Also included in the proposal is to remove requirements for developers to include affordable housing if they prove they make a site ‘commercially unviable’ in a bid to improve the economy and an extra £280 million for the FirstBuy scheme to help would-be homeowners with a deposit.