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Government seeks Londoners’ views on extending homes upwards

Words: Laura Edgar

The government has launched a consultation to seek views on an “innovative approach” to supporting housing supply in London by allowing greater freedom to build up rather than build out.

The consultation, launched jointly by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Mayor of London, is canvassing views on three proposals to increase the supply of housing in London by allowing a “limited number of additional stories to be built up to the roofline of an adjoining building through permitted development rights, local development orders or development plan policies”.

According to the consultation document (pdf) the proposals are “designed to deliver new homes”, with the DCLG and the Mayor seeking information on the number of homes that could be delivered through new flexibilities to build upwards and the types of premises most suitable for upward extensions.

Additionally, information is being sought on possible delivery constraints and specific issues that may need to be considered by a local planning authority in determining an application to be build upwards.

Options put forward for consideration in the consultation document are:

  1. Permitted development right in London, with prior approval, for the development of additional storeys on existing buildings up to the height of an adjoining roof line.

  2. London boroughs could bring forward local development orders to grant planning permission for upward extensions. The order could be borough-wide or for certain areas.

  3. Support in the London Plan – the Mayor of London could bring forward new planning policies to support additional storeys for new dwellings while reviewing the London Plan.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said the proposals “won’t deliver an enormous amount of new homes”, but could encourage “innovation and the more efficient use of space”.

“Similar to office to residential permitted development rights, this is a policy that will show results in some areas, such as the outskirts of London, and be less helpful in others. Central London boroughs are unlikely to see much change as the number of listed buildings and conservation areas will prohibit large numbers of proposals coming forwards, however, outer London boroughs could see a rise in new residential property.”

Leech concluded by saying that the BPF is “pleased” to see an option suggesting that local councils should be allowed to make decisions using local development orders because “local boroughs are best placed to consider the most appropriate options for their area”.

More information about the options is laid out in the consultation document, which can be found here (pdf).

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