THE government’s plans to relax planning rules have been deemed “daft and potentially devastating” by the Bournemouth Civic Society.

Chair Ken Mantock has voiced fears the proposed planning reforms would lead to town cramming and could hit the resort’s tourism if cliff top hotels are allowed to be converted into flats.

The Bournemouth Civic Society is backing the Civic Society’s campaign to try and get the government to withdraw its proposals, which include measures to allow home owners to build larger extensions without the need for planning permission and a relaxation of permitted development rules.

Mr Mantock said he hoped the proposals would be withdrawn or heavily modified.

“There’s little chance that localism and Big Society, laudable in their aim, will ever be more than words if the government keeps undermining local communities and local councils by its sledgehammer approach to planning.”