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Home grown – adding value to a property

20/08/19Home grown – adding value to a property

New rules introduced in May 2019 mean that you can now build much bigger extensions than were previously permitted, without applying for planning permission. These changes to the rules were originally introduced as a temporary measure, but the Government has now made them permanent.

Permitted developments were introduced in 2013 and the government monitored how the new legislation was utilised. Domestic alterations such as loft conversions have now become commonplace, since they were made exempt from the strict planning application process – though building regulations still apply, of course. Loft conversions and extensions are an easy way to make more space, without homeowners having to go to the expense of moving to a new house.

The new extension scheme applied to single storey extensions, on semi-detached and terraced houses, which could be extended by up to six metres. For detached properties, the extension limit was eight metres. This doubled the permissible size of non-permission extensions. Extensions cannot take up more than half the surrounding land area of the original property, be higher than the existing property and have to be constructed in materials to match what stands there already. This has now passed into legislation and made permanent. The rules don’t apply to ground-floor flats, maisonettes or other buildings. The usual process of consulting neighbours, who can raise objections, still applies. Homeowners tell the council the extent of the work they plan to carry out and the planning authority informs the neighbours of the extent of the project.

Reducing bureaucracy

The idea was to reduce the bureaucracy of applying to local planning authorities and allow a greater degree of freedom when it came to homeowners who wanted to improve and extend their properties. The pilot seems to have worked, as the Government has reported that since 2014, more than 110,000 extensions have been built under the new guidelines. The Government has also allowed shops to be converted into office space, without full planning permission being gained, and shops, offices and betting shops can be repurposed as community hubs, such as libraries, meeting spaces and public halls.

The initiative is seen as a way of homeowners being able to grow their properties, with sensible developments that will enhance their standard of living. The pilot and new rules regarding extensions don’t include Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where even small extensions of three or four metres will require full planning permission. Our building surveyors and valuers at Forge can help you decide how to make the most of extensions to your property, and advise on how to go about drawing up plans, informing the local authority and getting your new extension off the ground.

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