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Permitted development for home extensions comes into force

Words: Laura Edgar
Unauthorised dwelling

The extension of permitted development rights to allow homeowners to extend their properties without a full planning application – as well as high street conversions to offices and homes – has come into permanent effect.

The regulations, which were laid before Parliament earlier this month, do not include the right to allow upward extensions.

Under the rules, homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes – or eight metres for detached homes.

Over 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under the previously temporary rules.

Speaking about the extension, which became valid on 25 May, housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.

“By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.

“This is part of a package of reforms to build more, better, faster and make the housing market work – and sits alongside our drive to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”

Local authorities can now consider proposals for the conversion of shops and other high street uses such as takeaways and launderettes to offices under the prior approval process. Class M already allows retail and sui generis uses to be converted to residential without the need for planning permission, but the new regulations would allow takeaways to be converted to housing.

High streets minister Jake Berry said: “This fantastic news joins our £675 million Future High Streets Fund and our High Streets Task Force in ensuring our country’s high streets are fit to thrive not just now, but in the years to come.

“Giving greater certainty to property owners and the wider industry, it will also help businesses to adjust to the changing needs of the consumer.”

Martin Tett, planning spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with homeowners, the planning process exists for a reason.

“We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out of its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local planning departments.

“The introduction of the prior notification scheme as a result of permitted development for larger household extensions has led to an increased workload for planning officers and a loss of income. Any continuation of this must see councils properly resourced.

“The current process also means that councils have limited opportunity to consider the impact of such extensions on the local area because they don’t go through the full planning process.”

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