Those homeowners looking to extend their properties will be able to do so quickly and easily without the need for a full planning application, with the option of larger extensions, the Government has announced.
This is a cementing of temporary rules which has allowed for larger extensions since 2013. Under these rules, a single storey extension of up to six metres can be added to terraced or semi-detached properties, while for detached properties, it increases to eight metres.
The planning process has been shortened by allowing homeowners to simply notify their local authority of their plans, who then notify the property’s neighbours.
However, even though full planning permission will no longer be required, homeowners will still need to consider the impact of any extension on their neighbours, and the council will still take objections into account if it is thought that the extension will harm the character of the area.
‘These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape. By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move,’ Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said.
‘This is part of a package of reforms to build more, better, faster and make the housing market work – and sits alongside our drive to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s.’
Over 110,000 extensions were completed since 2014 under the then temporary rules.
While homeowners will no doubt be pleased with the changes, there has been a mixed response to the announcement. Estate agents, who are already facing a reduction in business, are concerned that it will lead to a further depletion in house moves.
Town planners are also concerned about the news.
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s planning spokesman, says: ‘Permitted development rules are taking away the ability of local communities to shape the area they live in, ensure homes are built to high standards with the necessary infrastructure in place and have resulted in the potential loss of thousands of desperately-needed affordable homes.
‘While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with homeowners, the planning process exists for a reason.
‘We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out of its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local planning departments.’
Businesses are also benefiting from the changes. Shops will now be able to convert to office space without the need for a full planning application, allowing them to respond to changing business needs more rapidly.
This also returns skilled professionals with their considerable spending power to the high street, helping to increase footfall.
The changes also allow for the temporary change of use from high street uses, such as shops to certain community uses, such as libraries and public halls.
‘Giving greater certainty to property owners and the wider industry, it will also help businesses adjust to the changing needs of the consumer,’ said High Streets Minister Jake Berry.