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Sun June 20 2021

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Planning deregulation is cowboy heaven

12 Sep 12 Government plans to relax planning laws to help the building trade are likely to increase the black economy and prove a boost to cowboy builders.

That is the fear of the people behind TrustMark, the government endorsed quality mark for tradesmen. They are urging government and local authority planning departments to point homeowners towards reputable tradesmen if they are considering taking advantage of the proposed relaxation of planning rules for a home extension.

TrustMark chairman Liz Male said: “There has been much talk of how this new housing plan could help fuel the economy, and there’s no doubt that anything that gets Britain building again is a very good move.  But our concern is that relaxing the planning laws on home extensions and other major building projects could end up fuelling the black economy.

“On any building project of this size, homeowners must be particularly well informed and well advised.  Through initiatives like this and the forthcoming Green Deal, the risk is that we leave too many people at the mercy of rogue traders and cowboy builders, which they find via telephone directories, leaflets posted through the door or ‘findanyoldbuilder’ websites. If government wishes to deregulate this sector, even for a short period, then it must also help by signposting people to reputable firms and good sources of advice.”

She added: "We would always advise anyone considering building an extension, conservatory, loft conversion or other major building work to use a contract with their tradesmen.”

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