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Javid proposes extending upwards in cities

Words: Laura Edgar
Townhouses / iStock-836337066

Housing secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government supports the creation of a new generation of town houses in cities in an attempt to ease pressure on ‘valuable’ open spaces and to help growing families.

The changes are expected to make it easier to build upwards on existing blocks of flats and houses, as well as shops and offices.

Javid said: “The answer to building new homes isn’t always an empty plot, or developing on a derelict site.

“We need to be more creative and make more effective use of the space we already have available.

“That’s why we are looking to strengthen planning rules to encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs.”

An additional two levels could be added to a property, providing it was in keeping with roofline of other buildings in the area.

The government said the measure will help councils protect “valuable open space” in inner-city areas, maintain the character of residential areas, safeguard people’s privacy and stop unwanted garden grabbing. Any changes must be in keeping with character of the local area.

This policy will be included in the revised draft of the National Planning Policy Framework, which is expected soon.

Melanie Leech, chief executive at the British Property Federation, said: “If we're going to successfully address the UK’s housing supply-demand imbalance, it's critical that we find bold new ideas. Making it easier to add floors to a property, so that an under-used house, becomes several flats, is a good example of an initiative which should encourage local authorities to think creatively about solutions in their area.

“Communities, however, will only accept development at greater density if local services and infrastructure can adequately support the growing population of a particular area. Inadequate planning or funding of school places, healthcare or leisure facilities will inevitably create animosity towards proposed development.”  

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