Public gives Cameron-backed extension plan the thumbs-down

By staff

Most people believe the government's plans to help homeowners build extensions will make the quality of design in their neighbourhood worse, a new poll revealed today.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) found 54% of respondents believe plans to remove the need for planning permission for house and building extensions would mean the quality of the design of their neighbourhood would get worse.

Just seven per cent thought it will get better.

"The government's new policy is rushed and if implemented could pave the way for poor design decisions which could damage our built environment for years to come," Ruth Reed, chair of the Riba planning group, said.

The poll suggested respondents were worried about losing influence over planning decisions in their local area. Fifty per cent said they were worried, with 20% saying they were 'very worried' and just ten per cent saying they were 'not worried at all'.

"People must be given the right to be consulted on the impact of significant development in their communities in a fair and efficient way," Reed said.

"These reforms will create anxiety amongst communities who have been promised more local influence by this government – not less."
The easing of the planning process for extensions and other work was feted as a rebooting of the coalition with a new growth-orientated approach to the second half of term.