Queen’s Speech reveals neighbours could be allowed to hold referendums on home extensions in their street

The Queen’s Speech, read by the Prince of Wales on Tuesday, said “the planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development” as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

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Neighbours could be allowed to vote on whether planning permission should be given for developments on their street.

The Queen’s Speech, read by the Prince of Wales on Tuesday, said “the planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development” as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

The bill was said to “give communities a louder voice”, after previous plans to reform planning were paused amid Conservative resistance.

Reports say communities will be able to vote on whether planning permission should be granted for extensions to existing homes on their street.

The Queen’s Speech, read by the Prince of Wales on Tuesday, said “the planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development” as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
The Queen’s Speech, read by the Prince of Wales on Tuesday, said “the planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development” as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

Residents will also be allowed to decide rules governing the layout and materials used for new developments, the broadcaster said.

Local residents will be permitted to hold referendums over the style and size of extensions, new homes and conversions on their street as well as deciding whether more loft conversions and conservatories can be built without full planning permission, The Times reports.

The bill, one of 38 set out on Tuesday, will seek to drive local growth and regenerate towns and cities across England, including by enshrining the Government’s levelling up “missions”.

Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons on the Queen’s Speech, Conservative former housing secretary Robert Jenrick warned the Government will miss its 300,000 homes-a-year manifesto pledge “by a country mile”.

Mr Jenrick raised concerns that the number of homes built under Boris Johnson’s first year in office will be the “high-water mark” for “several years to come”.

Conservative former housing secretary Robert Jenrick.
Conservative former housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

The former secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, who was sacked by Mr Johnson in September 2021, said: “It is a matter of the greatest importance to this country that we build more homes. Successive governments have failed to do this. There’s always an excuse.”

He added: “We’ve got to get those homes built because we’re letting down hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens. People are homeless today because we’re failing to build those houses. Young people’s rightful aspiration to get on the housing ladder is being neglected because we’re not building those homes.

“If I had to guess, I would say that the number of homes we built in the first year of this administration under the Prime Minister and myself, almost 250,000, will be the high-water mark of the number of homes built in this country for several years to come, and that the Government will miss its 300,000 homes-a-year manifesto pledge by a country mile.

“The only way in which we will get back to 250,000 homes a year and exceed it is if we together, on a cross-party basis, agree that that is not good enough and that we need to build more and find ways of doing that.”