Planning Permission Reforms to Benefit Homeowners Looking to Extend

Homeowners who are keen to add extra storeys to their properties will benefit from new laws introduced this week to allow a two-storey extension to be built without getting full planning permission.

The new rules are due to come into effect by September and mark part of an overhaul to planning permission laws which have been branded as outdated.  Owners of detached homes will be able to extend their living space skywards faster and much easier than before.

The government’s Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, hopes that the new powers will allow families to add space for additional bedrooms or elderly relatives.

Mr Jenrick commented: “We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing.

“These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities.

“It will mean that families can add up to two storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows.”

The current planning laws prevent the extension of a property above a certain height, which is dependent on the size and type of home.

Fast-track approvals to be launched for home extensions

From September, there will be a quicker approval process in place for families who wish to extend their home. Currently, planning permission can take up to 16 weeks to obtain, but the reform aims to halve the time it takes to get a response to just eight weeks.

Local authority planning teams will still need to consult with neighbours before approving the plans, and the new rules won’t apply to protected areas, meaning those living in national parks or conservation areas will need to undergo the full planning permission process.

The reforms have not been welcomed by everyone.  Daniel Slade, from the Town and Country Planning Association, said the new planning permission rules would lead to a boom in “thousands of tiny, poor quality “homes” in unacceptable locations such as industrial estates”.

Planning and environment partner at law firm BDB Pitmans, Mark Challis, added: “Although relaxing planning controls will strike a positive note with many, particularly in view of the economic and social effects of Covid-19, there is a price to be paid in the quality of development that can come forward with limited scrutiny by planning authorities.”