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Easing planning rules on extensions ‘to boost the economy’

The government are planning to relax the planning rules for extensions.

Planning Rules

According to an article published on BBC News, the government want to get planning officers “off people’s backs” with by easing current rules in England.

The government are planning to consult on allowing people to build larger extensions on their homes for three years; the extensions can be up to 8 metres ling on detached homes.

As ministers are seeking to boost the economy planning rules on shops and offices expanding and on developments having to include affordable home will be relaxed.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister said:

“This is a big set of measures which will lead to more affordable homes”

However, Labour has retaliated saying that ministers are “kidding themselves”.

The proposals, it says, are “not up to the scale of the challenge” and do not address the real problem of a “lack of confidence and demand in the economy”.

The Local Government Association says it is a “myth” that the planning system was stopping house-building.

Figures have been released which show a backlog of 400,000 prospective homes which have planning permission but have not yet been built. It says that these show that the planning system is not holding back on development.

In order to boost the economy and put an end to this on-going recession the coalition has undergone a reshuffle this week looking for ways to achieve these targets. The Prime Minister, David Cameron,  together with Nick Clegg have announced that 16,500 first-time buyers are to receive help getting on the housing ladder under an extension of the first buy scheme.

The first buy scheme allows potential homeowners, who are unable to provide a deposit, an equity loan of up to 20% of the purchase price.

It was only a few months ago that the government re-wrote the entire planning framework for England after fierce initial resistance from countryside campaigners, now they are planning to make more changes.

The economy is continuing to languish, hence the announcements have been made, and another reason for the announcements is due to the construction sector struggling through the recession.

David Cameron said:

“This government means business in delivering plans to help people build new homes and kick-start the economy.”

He went onto say:

“We’re determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back. That starts with getting the planners off our backs, getting behind the businesses that have the ambition to expand and meeting the aspirations of families that want to buy or improve a home.”

Under the government’s plans, if developers can prove these requirements make a site commercially unviable, the conditions will be removed. There will be a one month consultation on allowing homeowners and businesses, for a three-year period, to be able to build much bigger extensions without planning permission than they can at present.

New Permitted Development Rights will ease the difficulty on installing conservatories and extending into loft spaces as the process of going through weeks of bureaucracy will be relaxed.

If these plans do go ahead, full planning permission, required for extensions of more than three or four metres from the rear wall of any home, would only be needed for those reaching beyond 8m for detached homes and 6m for others.

However, the rules which are in place to restrict an extension to no more than 50% of a property’s garden will remain in place.

Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, spoke to the BBC and said that the extension rule change would benefit both local householders and businesses due to the demand increase for new furnishings as well as interior carpets and other materials.

There should also be a boost for extensions on industrial properties and business due to businesses being able to expand by 100 square metres and industrial units by 200 square metres.

There will also be £300m of additional funding to provide up to 15,000 affordable homes and bring 5,000 empty homes back into use.

Government proposals on housing-building

  • Consult on a three-year relaxation of planning rules on extending homes and business premises.
  • All householders would be able to build 6m long extensions without planning permission (it’s currently 3m)
  • Removing requirements for developers to include affordable housing – if they prove they make a site “commercially unviable”.
  • An extra £280m for the First Buy scheme to help would-be homeowners with a deposit.
  • A new bill to provide £40bn in government guarantees to underwrite major infrastructure projects and £10bn to underwrite the construction of new homes.
  • Funding of £300m to provide 15,000 affordable homes and bring 5,000 empty homes back into use.
  • A new “major infrastructure fast-track” for big projects.
  • Putting poorly performing council planning departments into “special measures” and allowing developers to bypass them if they fail to improve.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Nick Clegg said the government was putting forward a “big set of measures” to boost house-building but accepted some of the proposals would be controversial.

He said:

“We have a real crisis. We’re not employing enough people in the construction sector. The construction sector has had a really hard time of it. We’re not building enough homes. We’re not building enough affordable homes. We’ve got to take some of these difficult decisions – yes, even with some controversy around them – to get Britain building.”

Representatives of England’s housing associations, the National Housing Federation, welcomed these plans and thought them to be “a major step forward”. They also believe that these plans have the potential to transform the housing market.

The group said:

“It will provide homes for some of the millions of families on waiting lists create jobs and give the UK economy a shot in the arm with a speed and effectiveness few industries can match.”

References:

BBC News

Q&A: Housing and Planning Shake Up

Site Insurance is essential for anyone planning an extension, renovation, conversion or new build project. Self-Build Zone have several different site insurance options to protect your project during the build process, including flexible short term extendable policies as well as the traditional 2 year policy.

Self-Build Zone products include:

Site Insurance
Buildings Insurance
Structural Warranty
Building Control Services
Renovation Insurance
Code for Sustainable Homes
SAP Energy Ratings
Air Pressure Testing
Sound Testing

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