Fears that changes to planning rules could lead to inappropriate building of new homes in Reading have been raised with the government.

The government is currently considering national rules to speed up the planning process in its declared goal of planning decisions which are timely, transparent, and of high quality.

It has proposed four changes, which involve introducing a new Accelerated Planning Service for major commercial applications with a decision to be made in 10 weeks and fee refunds from the council to developers if that timeframe is not met.

The second change would allow only one extension of time for negotiations between councils and developers, and ending time extensions for householder applications.

The third would ease the appeal application process and the fourth allows minor changes to approved developments to be described better and made easier to understand.

But there are fears changes could make the process rushed and lead to inappropriate developments for new homes and flats being approved.

The proposed changes were discussed at the council’s last planning applications committee meeting.

Micky Leng lead councillor for planning and assets said: “Every other day, more burdens are put on the local planning authorities and councils with less money to do it.

“This apparently is going to bring more funds. This is going to create planning by appeal, we will see poorer planning decisions and applications put forward.

“This is a message for the next government coming in, this is going to be picked up by them, not matter what colour they are, red, blue, green, whatever.

“If we want to have good sustainable development we have to bring the public along with us, and that is done through the planning process.”

Cllr Leng described getting developers to deliver affordable housing as “like swimming through treacle sometimes” arguing that national rule changes ‘would only make things worse’.

He also said the council has recently had a ‘glut of appeals’ where planning inspectors ruled against the council’s decision and allowed developers to build.

A high-profile example was the government approval of 1,000 flats and commercial space to replace the Reading Station Shopping Park at Vastern Court.

Also, a refused plan for a Greggs drive-thru at the Stadium Way Industrial Estate was allowed on appeal.

Meanwhile, developer Stonegate Homes won its appeal in November last year to not deliver any affordable homes at its 26-apartment project at 362 Oxford Road.

Cllr James Moore (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) said:  “There is a disregard for due process and actually doing things properly, and giving proper care and attention to these things, because once these developments are up and about, that’s it, they are there.

“You can’t just throw money and say ‘build my thing quicker, get me my permissions quicker’.

“It just seems to be such a Tory government thing really.”

The council’s responses to the government’s consultation on an accelerated planning system were agreed on April 24 and sent to the government this month.