Planning issues have always been a major concern in Sutton South Ward, with numerous examples of poor quality developments we have seen off but others where local democracy has been overturned by the decisions of the remote Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol.
As Liberal Democrats, we think that an effective planning system based on local consultation is essential to maintaining the quality of development in our Ward. The system has been undermined by the Government, by extension of “permitted development” rights and by new provisions that make it possible to add two storeys to the top of a block of flats by going through truncated planning approval arrangements.
There has been a growing trend for developers to try to add extra storeys to the tops of blocks of flats. We have recently seen off three such proposals in our Ward, where the proposal would have made the building look incongruous and the building work would have been a nightmare for the current residents. The first of these was a block in Mulgrave Road, which failed to meet our standards of design – not good enough for Sutton. The second was in Grange Road – Magnolia Court. The third in Brighton Road – Northumberland House.
We need more housing, but not by agreeing to buildings that will be blots on the landscape for the next fifty years.