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Committee criticises government's extension proposals

19 December

The government's claim that its proposals to extend permitted development rights for house extensions would save householders money and boost local economies is flawed, a report by a parliamentary committee has concluded.

The report into the proposed changes, by the communities and local government select committee, said the assumptions on the financial benefits of the plans outlined in the government's impact assessment were "so tentative, broad-brush and qualified as to provide little assurance that the financial benefits suggested will be achieved".

The report said the government's estimated range for the possible savings to applicants, of between £5 million and £100 million annually, was "so wide that it does not provide a sound basis for the change. If the realised savings are at the bottom end of the range, there must be a question of whether the changes are worth the disruption.... the government had failed to address or evaluate the social and environmental arguments put forward against the proposed changes. .... little or no evidence of the government considering or addressing the social or environmental impact of the changes. Its approach has therefore disregarded two of the components of sustainable development as set out in its own National Planning Policy Framework".