Bold planning initiative will give homeowners more scope for space

A push towards extending and maximising existing properties alongside the construction of new ones could benefit thousands of homeowners and investors.

The announcement by the government’s Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, to enable families to build a two-storey home extension under existing permitted development rights is intended to modernise our archaic planning system.

The radical reforms, first mooted 18 months ago by Sajid Javid and now expected to be instigated by his successor Robert Jenrick, could ‘tear up outdated and bureaucratic planning laws’.

No objections from neighbours

Initially, purpose-built blocks of flats will be allowed to take advantage of the new initiative, but it is envisaged that before long the scheme will also include all detached properties.

The new planning reform will enable families to extend their properties up to two storeys, using the permitted development rights currently applied to loft conversions, conservatories and small extensions.

Neighbours will no longer be able to make formal objections and no planning permission will be required, although building regulations will still need to be complied with.

More homeowners staying put

Government ministers are confident that the new change will give families greater choice not to move as they grow, but to stay put and extend their existing property.

Advocates of the reform said: “Potentially, this will create more attractive and prosperous high streets by replacing eyesores with family homes, while also reducing the need to build houses on green field land and in the countryside.”

The government hopes that developers and housebuilders will be encouraged to work with existing buildings adding new homes.

Permission in principle

To improve the use of existing buildings the government will introduce ‘a permission in principle’ system, meaning developers will not be required to get detailed planning permission before excavating and demolishing on site.

This change is meant to speed up the plan to convert disused commercial buildings that can be turned into residential housing and transformed from ugly into attractive buildings in areas ready for regeneration and improvement.

Mr Jenrick said: “The bold changes to the planning process will make a real difference to people up and down the nation. All too often the planning system proves complicated, outdated and bureaucratic and is too complex and costly for people and small businesses to navigate. This is a barrier to building the homes that we need.”

“I want to give families the freedom they need to expand their homes and ensure small developers get a fair chance to succeed. Our vision for reforming the planning system will speed up and simplify the process, while ensuring that communities still retain a say over their future.”

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