Admire Conservative Richmond Council for deciding to defy the coalition government’s policy relaxation of planning rules for building extensions. The planning proposals will allow larger home and business extensions without planning permission. Richmond is concerned with the ‘look’ of developments. I am more concerned with the eventual use of extensions. This proposal could lead to even more sub-standard accommodation and cases of “beds in sheds” because families are so desperate to find somewhere to live and landlords reap the profit. Other planning changes proposed has been letting developers create houses in multiple occupation without planning permission. In Brent – and in Willesden Green - there are already too many planning breaches so I hope the planning service will hold on to its influence on what is built. Another concern is the change to the powers of the Planning Inspectorate to overrule projects blocked by councils. This would leave people helpless to stop thousands of homes being built on their doorsteps. According to Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association, this is a blow to local democracy, as the Government is threatening to take power away from local communities and placing it in the hands of a super quango”.