Neighbors vote on plans for house extensions on their street in major upheaval

The Tories dropped plans for a radical overhaul of planning laws after grassroots anger at the plan, particularly in the party’s southern core areas

It's important not to seem too distressed when looking around a new home
It’s important not to seem too distressed when looking around a new home

People would be given the power to vote on whether their neighbors can build extensions as part of government plans.

New legislation, announced in the Queen’s speech on Tuesday, would reform the planning system in England “to allow residents more involvement in local development” – it is expected to include local votes on the work that the people can do at their homes.

So-called “Street Votings” are expected to feature in the new Leveling Up and Regeneration Bill – after the Government abandoned its dedicated planning overhaul amid Tory anger.

According to the Times, Housing Secretary Michael Gove will allow communities to vote on whether to grant planning permission for extensions to existing homes on their street.

Residents will be allowed to hold plebiscites on the style and size of additions, new homes and conversions on their street, and to decide whether additional loft conversions and conservatories can be built without full planning permission.

Leveling Up secretary Michael Gove is expected to make changes to the planning system – but a full overhaul has been dropped


Photo only/PA images)

The bill, one of 38 presented on Tuesday, will aim to spur local growth and regenerate towns and cities across England, including by enshrining the government’s ‘missions’.

It comes as Mr Gove suggested the Tories would back away from a manifesto to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

He repeatedly refused to explicitly endorse the target in a chaotic broadcast round.

“People have resisted development because too often numbers have simply been put on the table to achieve some arbitrary goal. They had dormitories, not neighborhoods,” he told the Today program.

“I think it’s critically important that while we try to improve the housing supply, you also try to build communities that people love and are proud of.

“It’s not success if you just hit a target, the homes that are built are shabby, in the wrong place, don’t have the infrastructure needed, and don’t contribute to beautiful communities.

Neighbors could vote on the developments of the people on their street


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“I’m not bound by just one criterion when it comes to development. Math is important, but so is beauty, belonging, democracy and making sure we build communities.”

His predecessor, Robert Jenrick, said on Tuesday the government would fall short of its campaign promise “by a country mile”.

He told MPs: “We have to have these houses built because we are disappointing hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens. People are homeless today because we cannot build these houses.

“Young people’s legitimate aspirations to get up the housing ladder are neglected because we don’t build these houses.

“If I had to guess, I would say that the number of houses we have built in the first year of this government under the Prime Minister and I, almost 250,000, will be the highest mark in the number of houses built in this country for several years and that the government will miss its manifesto of 300,000 houses a year by a country mile.

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