Extension to permitted development rights
New laws laid in Parliament this week will allow homeowners in England to carry out more improvement or extension work without the requirement for planning permission.
The new rules, which will come into effect by September, homeowners will be able to add up to two additional storeys to their property to create new homes or more living space for growing families through a fast track approval process.
There will, however, be a requirement to carefully consider the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.
The rules will also mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes and commercial and retail properties can be quickly repurposed.
Permitted development rights (PDR) allow the improvement or extension of homes without the need to apply for planning permission.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick says: “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.”
Pubs, libraries, village shops and other buildings essential to communities will not be covered by these flexibilities, recognising these form part of the fabric of areas.
The announcement has, however, been met with dismay by many in the property industry.
Alan Jones, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), says: “The extension of this policy is truly disgraceful.
“There is no evidence that the planning system is to blame for the shortage of housing, and plenty to suggest that leaving local communities powerless in the face of developers seeking short-term returns will lead to poor results.
“Even the government’s own advisors concluded that permitted development had ‘permissioned future slums’ – allowing sub-standard homes to be built with little to no natural light and smaller than budget hotel rooms.
“The extension of PDR is not just damaging – it’s a missed opportunity.
“There are fantastic examples of high quality, low cost, sustainable developments across the UK, like the 2019 Stirling Prize winning Goldsmith Street.
“But to ensure these become the norm we need changes to the tax and funding systems to incentivise investment in sustainable buildings alongside minimum space and environmental standards.”