Views of York Minster ‘could be lost’ to many residents

Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Extra storeys could be added to buildings – without the need for planning permission.

And York Labour councillors say they fear this means residents’ views of York Minster “could become a thing of the past”.

The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP announced that developers should be encouraged to “build upwards” – and that the changes are part of a bid to get more homes built.

York Labour councillors say they are “extremely worried” about the move.

Undermining local powers

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government report says: “New permitted development rights for building upwards on existing buildings by summer 2020, including to extend residential blocks by up to two storeys and to deliver new and bigger homes.”

A statement said developers will be able to knock down empty buildings and replace them with homes “without getting delayed in a lengthy planning process”.

Labour councillor Claire Douglas said: “This is yet another in a long line of Government decisions that takes the powers of local councils on planning and puts them in the hands of the Government department.

“We can expect to see the long-held objective to maintain Minster views in York put under significant pressure, as developers take advantage of the Government’s latest move towards a planning free-for-all.”

She added that increasing the height of blocks could “significantly impact on people’s enjoyment of where they live,” adding: “Minster views may well become a thing of the past for many residents, if this slackening of planning powers is fully exploited.”

The Government says the plan will deliver more affordable homes.