Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Alice-Mary Higgins (Independent)
I will be brief. Of course there need to be building regulations and things need to be done properly but the concern is that certain structural changes are discretionary and do not require planning permission. Small changes can be made. There is a certain square footage of glass one can add to one's kitchen or whatever. There are things that do not require planning permission. I am all for proper planning processes for anything else but we do not want an estate where all those who bought their house at full price are able to make a certain kind of change on a discretionary basis, and those who bought at an affordable price face an obstacle to that. I get the "not ... unreasonably withheld" aspect but will the process of obtaining written consent from the housing authority involve unreasonable delay? Will there be a backlog? Will that take a year or six months? It seems like an additional hurdle which those who bought their houses at different prices do not face. That is a reasonable concern.