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Pickles vows ‘compromise’ over house extensions

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has promised a ‘sensible compromise’ after defeating a backbench rebellion over permitted development rights for home extensions

A House of Commons vote today rejected a House of Lords amendment to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill allowing councils to opt out of the controversial national policy.

Announced last year, the reform would see the length of house extensions allowed to proceed without planning permission double from four metres to eight metres for three years

Around 20 coalition MPs – led by environmentalist Zac Goldsmith – were expected to back the Lords amendment however the government won with a 27-vote majority.

Goldsmith previously told BBC Radio 4’s Today earlier today: ‘It will guarantee disputes between neighbours. I don’t think anyone doubts that. It will be very unpopular and there is no evidence, as far as I can see, that it is going to solve any problems at all. It seems like very bad, clumsy politics.’

Acknowledging criticism from both houses, Pickles said: I can announce today that in the spirit of consensus, we will bring forward a revised approach on the contentious question of permitted development rights for home extensions when the bill returns to the Lords.

‘I believe that this is eminently bridgeable and I would like the opportunity to make that bridge.’

Details of the amended policy will be revealed when it returns to the House of Lords on 26 April.

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