Councillors at Reading Borough Council (RBC) have slammed “absolutely bonkers” government plans to allow homeowners to extend houses by two storeys without planning permission.

Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, announced the policy on twitter on Monday.

Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Building regulations are just in place to ensure safety. What kind of standards are we really going to have?

“We could have some really substandard stuff going up. 

“Neighbours won’t be able to complain and the planning applications committee won’t be able to have an affect on it.

“You are going to disturb the neighbour balance.”

Robert Jenrick MP said the policy would allow families to grow their homes at the same pace as the growth of their family.

The new measures, which affect owners of detached properties, will allow families to build up to two storeys under the same permitted development rights used for small extensions and loft conversions.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage at RBC, tweeted in response: “Absolutely bonkers ruling out today.

“Forget complaining if your neighbour decides to do this. You won’t be able to. There will be little in this of any sort of good.”

Fellow Labour councillor Rachel Eden added: “I speak to a lot of residents in West Berkshire and in Reading who are already concerned about permitted development. Planning permission is required for a reason.

“Adding two storeys to your home should require it.”

“I suspect requiring planning permission deters a number of inappropriate developments, just as we now see far more office conversions to flats that would never have even come to planning before.”