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  • Neil Harrison

Home extension planning permission changes have a down-side say certain housing strategy experts.

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

The exciting new rules allowing two-storey upwards extensions on family homes without planning permission, have featured on this blog a number of times recently. This is a move, which has been very well- received in most quarters, possibly heralds something of a boom in home extensions for the year ahead..... and indeed beyond!

We at Mint, certainly feel this to be very much the case as continuing house price uncertainty ebbs and flo's - and will do next year - as the issues and financial pressures of Brexit go on biting. This means people are very likely to be encouraged to ‘Extend Instead’ and put off moving to a new home right now until a further year or two has passed.

negative effect

It might be a surprise though, to take note of the fact - highlighted on the ever informative planning portal, www.planningportal.co.uk - that these very well received, much-welcomed planning permission changes have been received in some quarters as likely to have something of a negative effect.

low-quality

The easing of planning permission will 'compound the problem' of low quality housing created under previous extensions to permitted development rights, says the Royal Town Planning Institute. In the organisation’s official magazine publication, The Planner www.theplanner.co.uk, the policy changes are viewed as a "disaster".

Richard Blyth, the RTPI's head of policy, says that the new proposal would also undermine the government's simultaneous efforts to involve communities in improving housing design in their area. He adds ‘We welcome the Government announcing the first national design guide and asking every community to produce their own. But, it is very difficult to see how this concern for better design and public involvement is compatible with a relaxation in rules on ‘building up’ and the consequent inability of neighbours to have a formal route to object."

chorus of disapproval

The Planner reports that other built environment organisations have joined this chorus of disapproval, the Local Government Association calling on the government to "allow the planning process to do its job" and the British Property Federation arguing that the extended rights could "alienate" communities.

The Planner draws attention to the fact that according to the English Housing Survey 2017-18, there are approximately 3.7 million detached houses in private ownership in England – 25 per cent of England's 14.8 million owner-occupied homes. High-rise purpose-built flats make up 2 per cent of the housing stock – or approximately 496,000 dwellings.

detached houses too

Announced by housing secretary Robert Jenrick at the Conservative Party Conference, the extended permitted development rules will initially apply to purpose-built blocks of flats from January 2020, and will eventually be rolled out to detached houses. They will allow home-owners to add an extra two storeys to their home without seeking planning permission, under the same rules that currently apply to small extensions and loft conversions.

Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick says the policy would allow home-owners to accommodate growing families without moving house and encourage developers to add new homes to existing buildings without getting caught up in a “complicated, outdated and bureaucratic” planning system.

family freedom

He adds, “I want to give families the freedom they need to expand their homes and ensure small envelopers get a fair chance to succeed, adding that the new approach was part of the government's "vision" for reforming the planning system, with an emphasis on measures to "speed up and simplify" the process.

weaknesses

Built environment organisations, however, have pointed out weaknesses in the policy. In particular the RTPI further noted that it removes the ability of neighbours to formally object to poor development that may impinge on their amenity, and that it undermines the drive to create good quality, affordable housing across England.

campaign

Adds Mr Blyth,“We are disappointed that our call for the government to focus on delivering homes through the local planning process seems to have been ignored and will continue to campaign against the extension of permitted development rights which are jeopardising both housing affordability and quality. We agree absolutely that the Government must act to alleviate the UK’s housing crisis, but any response must be done in a planned way.”

new guidance

The Government’s pledge to further extend the above policy comes alongside a raft of other announcements that include new guidance on housing design for local authorities and a pledge to increase shared ownership of housing association properties.

Whatever your extension or renovation plans, Mint offers a full development and finishing service to help give you home more space and add value too. We are here to help with any questions or concerns you may have including the ‘ins and outs’ of planning issues . We have all the expert contacts on hand to help you.

Please request your quotation and planning meeting with our expert team to extend, improve or refurbish your home . Contact Mint Builders on 01242 279739or email info@mintbuilders.co.uk

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