Consultation launched on extension rules change

Homeowners would be able to build single-storey extensions with a depth of up to eight metres without the need for planning permission for a three-year period, a consultation published today confirms.

Extensions: government wants to remove many from the planning system
Extensions: government wants to remove many from the planning system

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a consultation document setting out the technical details of its proposals to relax for three years permitted development rights for extensions to homes and business premises in non-protected areas.

The proposals, first announced in September as part of a government growth package, sparked a backlash, with the Local Government Association calling on ministers to scrap the plan.

The consultation document proposes that in non-protected areas, single-storey rear extensions with a depth beyond the rear wall of eight metres should be allowed under permitted development rights for a detached house and six metres for any other type of house.

The consultation says that the relaxation of rules would also cover conservatories at the rear of properties.

At present, single-storey rear extensions with a depth of four metres are allowed under permitted development rights for a detached house and three metres for any other type of house.

The consultation proposes that, "to ensure that the amenity of neighbouring properties is protected", development will not be able to cover more than 50 per cent of the curtilage of the house, single-storey extensions must not exceed four metres in height and "any extensions which have an eaves height of greater than three metres must not be within two metres of the boundary".

According to the consultation, the policy change would mean that "between 20,000 and 40,000 developments would no longer be subject to planning requirements".

It says that the saving to applicants might range "between £5 million and £100 million annually", based upon estimated total savings on the planning application process – including fee – of between £150 and £2,470, "depending on the level of information required to support the application".

"If the requirement to seek planning permission were removed, these costs would no longer be incurred," the document says.

The document also proposes:

- Increasing the size limits for extensions to shops and professional/financial services establishments to 100 square metres for a period of three years

- Increasing the size limits for extensions to offices to 100 square metres in non-protected areas for a period of three years

- Increasing the size limits for new industrial buildings within the curtilage of existing industrial premises to 200 square metres in non-protected areas for a period of three years

- Removing some prior approval requirements for the installation of broadband infrastructure for a period of five years.

The consultation also says that the government wishes to explore "whether there is scope to use permitted development to make it easier to carry out garage conversions".

Planning minister Nick Boles said: "These proposed reforms will make it easier for thousands of hard working families to undertake home improvements to cater for a growing family or to build a conservatory.

"Homeowners and businesses must be allowed to meet their aspirations for improving their homes and premises but this won't be at the expense of neighbours, communities and protected areas."

Extending permitted development rights for homeowners and businesses: technical consultation is available here.


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