Concerns raised about new planning proposals
COALITION government plans to make it easier for homeowners to build larger extensions and conservatories would result in an "uncontrolled planning shambles", council chiefs have claimed.
Cheltenham Borough Council is to write to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to express its opposition to the proposals.
They would see planning rules tweaked to make building easier as part of a wider bid to boost economic growth.
But councillors fear it will reduce their control over development and result in a planning free-for-all.
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Councillor Andrew McKinlay (Up Hatherley, LD), who proposed the motion to fight the plans, said he believes if the measures are put in place they will lead to the 'potential loss of control' over planning matters.
He said: "It is a matter that just about every council in the country is concerned about. We are seeking to be part of the national campaign to try and get Mr Pickles to change his mind. If you are living in St Paul's it would mean that you could effectively double the depth of your house without needing planning permission. That, I think, would be a serious problem.
"The single most serious and threatening thing that Mr Pickles is proposing is the taking away of planning powers from local authorities where the process appears to be slow or of poor quality.
"It is a major threat to every council in the country.
"What we would be left with is an uncontrolled planning shambles that we would spend the next 30 years clearing up."
The Government has said the changes would get Britain building and consequently give a much-needed shot in the arm to the UK's economy.
But that notion has been dismissed by the leader of Cheltenham Borough Council Steve Jordan.
He believes to suggest the planning system in its current guise is constraining economic growth is a 'delusion'.
However, leader of the Conservative group Councillor Rob Garnham (Park, C) said many of the fears over the changes were unfounded.
He said: "This is a threat to councils who don't do the job. It is a threat to councillors who do not do their job. It would be used in exceptional circumstances. Up and down the country there are some councillors who won't make decisions."