ANTAS (the Association of North Thames Amenity Societies) is an association of local civic societies working to ensure high standards of planning and architecture in our towns and villages, and working to preserve and care for our countryside. WPAG is member of ANTAS along with twenty two other civic and community groups across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
With the power of its membership behind it, ANTAS is a voice to be heard at the National level.
As part of the Consultation process, the ANTAS Chairman, (Mr Jon Green), has lodged objections to Mr Pickles, Secretary of State, about two aspects of the Government’s proposed planning reforms.
1) Permitted Development Rights
ANTAS challenges the thought that the proposed PDR’s will alleviate the country’s housing needs. The argument is that although small builders might regard it as good news that building works can proceed with more freedom from planning rules and regulations, i.e. at a faster tempo than before, there must be concerns that the very removal of conventional safeguards within local planning authorities’ procedures will allow potentially inappropriate private residential developments to creep in.
ANTAS give, as an example, the proposed relaxation of controls to permit (domestic) ground floor back extensions up to 6 and 8 metres without the need for local authority planning approval. Such easing of established local authority planning procedures could remove the opportunity for neighbours, and others, to register legitimate objections should they so wish on, for example, such important issues such as loss of amenity, or lessening of security,.
Similarly, ANTAS attack proposals to allow commercial premises to extend and build virtually up to their site boundaries without a planning check to consider the impact on neighbouring land users, or potential traffic and road safety implications where there is a presumption of increased site activity.
2) Major Infrastructure Developments
ANTAS attacks plans to remove into the hands of the Government’s Planning inspectorate, major infrastructural projects lodged with those local planning authorities who, compared to others, are deemed to be statistically low in terms of their ‘track record’ of speed of response and quality of action, i.e. their rate of ‘Refusals’. The criteria for taking such draconian steps is at this stage open to doubt and uncertainty, but of critical importance.
ANTAS argues that the obvious risk of such discipline, clearly intended, is to put pressure on planning departments to speed up their approval rate, potentially at the expense of care and attention to planning priorities.
Go to the ANTAS website to learn more about their work and objectives.
To learn more about the detail of the Government’s proposals, click Permitted Development Rights, or go to the Government Planning Portal on the Links page for information on a wide range of planning related subjects.