SAVE slams government plans to allow additional floors to buildings without planning permission

Bridgwater
Many high streets such as this one in Bridgwater (Somerset) would could be permanently damaged by this new policy (image: SAVE)
 
16 January 2019
 
SAVE Britain's Heritage has submitted a detailed response to the government's consultation on national proposals to permit upward extensions and additional stories to buildings without planning permission. 
 
The proposals include plans to allow upwards extensions as high as the highest building in the locality, and to extend freestanding buildings over 5 storeys with additional floors - possibly doubling them in height. We consider that schemes for highly visible major extensions should be assessed through the planning permission process, not through permitted development rights, as being mooted by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government. 
 
We are concerned that this type of fast track approval would result in lower quality design proposals, un-cohesive tooth gap development and result in a damaging impact on the character of our historic high streets and neighbourhoods. In our view major development like this should be assessed through the planning system so that adopted local plan policies and relevant material planning considerations can be taken into account when deciding whether to grant planning permission or not - like visual impact, amenity/over looking concerns, and design quality.
 
Henrietta Billings, SAVE director, said: "Historic high streets and town centres across England are vulnerable to the impact of this proposed de-regulation of the planning system. It risks more low quality, ad hoc development, not less. These proposals undermine the role of local communities and planning authorities in the decision making process, and they run counter to the aims set set out in the government's Building Better, Building Beautiful commission of tackling poor design in construction of new homes. The proposals should be re-thought."
 
Marcus Binney, SAVE executive president, said: "We welcome the government’s commitment to reviving Britain’s high streets.  But for all their jostle of shops, banks and pubs most high streets have a predominant roof and cornice line and random additions as suggested could create a tidal wave of ugliness.  Imagine the typical street corner pub or bank with an extra three storeys bunged on top." 
 
Ends
For more information contact SAVE on 020 7253 3500 or office@savebritainsheritage.org
 
See the full SAVE response to the consultation entitled 'Planning Reform – Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes' here.