'Planning system overhaul could mean a block of flats built next to your house and nothing you can do about it' Wakefield Civic Society says

An overhaul of the UK’s planning system could mean a block of flats gets built next to your house with nothing you can do to oppose it, Wakefield Civic Society’s president has said.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:54 pm
A major overhaul of the planning system is in the pipeline.
A major overhaul of the planning system is in the pipeline.

The government is in the process of changing planning law to make it easier for new homes to be built.

The Planning Bill, which was announced at the Queen’s Speech last month, is intended opposition to development in designated “growth zones”.

But Wakefield Civic Society president Kevin Trickett said it will take power out the hands of local people.

He said if an area is designated as a growth zone it could mean developers able to build as they please with no capacity for residents to lodge their objections.

He admitted the idea of changes to planning law might seem remote to a lot of people but the effects could be very real.

He said: “If Wakefield Council is talking about a masterplan chance are you won’t be bothered but if developers tear down the house next door and build a block of flats in its place you will be interested.

“If we don’t pay attention now we will have no say and no will be able to stop it happening.

“It may be that if you oppose a development now you don’t win the argument but you do have your day in court so to speak.

“That right is potentially going to be removed.”

Mr Trickett’s warning follows a decision in which a 5G mast planned for Lupset was recommended for refusal by Wakefield Council planning officers.

It had received nearly 90 objections on the council’s planning website.

Mr Trickett believes that the reforms would mean the power of residents to object to a planning application would be taken away. Under the government’s proposals, which were announced last summer, councils in England would instead have to designate all land in their area as “protected”, for “renewal”, or for “growth”.

Mr Trickett said it could be devastating for the city if a particular area was designated as a zone for development.

He said, for example, an area of ground floor properties city centre properties could be designated for redevelopment.

If they were allowed to be converted into residential properties then further gaps would open up in the high streets rather than being used for retail.

He said it would leave people with “even less” reason to go into town.

For some time the government has indicated it wants to drastically reform the planning system.

Its proposals have attracted a lot of criticism.

The government has laid out its proposals on its website.

A research briefing published in March says:

“Local communities will be consulted from the very beginning of the planning process.

“Valued green spaces will be protected for future generations by allowing for more building on brownfield land and all new streets to be tree-lined.

“Homes will be built quicker by ensuring local housing plans are developed and agreed in 30 months.”

The report acknowledged The proposed reforms have “received a mixed response” and attracted “some fierce criticism”.