Thursday, November 24, 2011

More rooms at the Inn

Here is the original letter from Ron Jeffries, the edited version of which appeared in the Ilford Recorder today, 24th November 2011.
Dear Editor,

In recent times new residents have purchased houses in the Borough and have been granted planning permission to extend the building to provide one, two, three or four additional bedrooms and living rooms.

Whilst I have no problem with this, I am surprised to learn that the banding for council tax will remain the same until there is a change in ownership however many years in the future that may be.

Here in Aldborough Hatch a three bedroomed semi-detached house is presently being extended to provide seven bedrooms and additional living rooms. There will be living space for at least fourteen family members and friends. The houseowner will pay the same council tax as before. In similar cases extended families move in – grandparents, parents, children and their partners and siblings – so that the probability of the house being sold in the near future is very remote.

This means that a large family occupying an extended house pays exactly the same council tax as a much smaller family or two pensioners in a considerably smaller house – and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This would only change if there is a national re-banding of properties and to date the government has not carried this out.

This is totally inequitable and unfair. Not only that, but local councils are missing out on an additional source of income.

If people can afford the cost of these massive extensions, they can afford to pay a fair share of council tax for local services.

Yours sincerely

Ron Jeffries
Editor’s Note: Cue debate on the Poll Tax …. But …


  1. A very good friend of mine with whom I have shared my thoughts of this has come up with what I believe would be a workable solution to ensure that residents who extend their homes are required to pay a fair Council Tax.

    If we assume that the owner has received planning permission from the local authority, surely that would be the time for the owner to be told, assuming plans are agreed and permission is granted, that their band will increase to take stock of the increased number of rooms and facilities.

    My friend assumes that when alterations are done they are inspected - is this so? If it is, isn’t that the moment for people to understand that they are now liable to pay the increased tax (as increase would almost always be what it would entail?). If alterations are not inspected (which I fear is probably the case), the increase in Council Tax could start from, say, three months after planning permission is granted.

    If this requires legislation, is this something that our MP, with the backing of Redbridge Council and the GLA, could pursue? I am in touch with Lee Scott MP, Roger Evans, GLA Member and Councillors.

    I would be interested to read what other followers of Barkingside 21 think. Is there such interest in putting things on a fair basis that I should devote time to lobbying on this?

  2. Ron,
    As I understand it all building, including Permitted Developement [which does not require Planning Permission] is subject to Building Regulations and have to be inspected to ensure they comply. However, it is quite possible in these days that the Inspectors are somewhat overstretched.
    I recall a similar discussion, on the Redbridge-i forum, I think, where peeps would have been supportive of such a move as you suggest. However, I think it might require a change in the Law.
    I cannot see any opponents of such a move coming up with any rational argument against it, so let's go for it!

  3. Council tax banding has obviously been a terrible mess for years. In our road, identically-sized semi-detached homes with small front and back gardens are banded differently, whilst the only detached home with a much larger outside space+garage is in a lower band to its semi neighbours with no garage. No adjustment of tax band was made when the house was significantly expanded some years ago.

    Ron's suggestion deserves consideration.

  4. Thanks Alan. Lee Scott MP is talking with the Minister concerned - and Roger Evans GLS Member is also in touch with Lee - so I will let you know the outcome. Meantime, it would be great if we could guage the support for this from those good folk who read your excellent website.

  5. the rich have ways to avoid paying council tax

  6. Alan - as a GUARDIAN reader (ever since the NEWS CHRONICLE folded!) I read the article to which you refer. It is a scandal - but will our givernment do anything about it? I fear not - but let's wait to see what Lee Scott gets back from the Minister. I am holding my breath!

  7. I agree at the planning stage is the time to review the council tax band. In my view it is not the resizing of the building that concerns me, but with the extra foot print comes more people requiring more council services, such as additional rubbish = more collection, more children, = more school places, elderly relatives moving in = more care and more people either young or old = more health care etc

  8. surley the more people living in this house the more resources they will be using.........send out the logic police....