Housing White Paper: DCLG rules out permitted development right for upward extensions

Measures to make it easier for developers to add upward extensions to buildings in London are to be brought forward via a policy change rather than the introduction of a new permitted development right, the government has revealed.

Rooftops: permitted development right will not be introduced for upward extensions (picture: Mandy Goldberg, Flickr)
Rooftops: permitted development right will not be introduced for upward extensions (picture: Mandy Goldberg, Flickr)

Last year, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the mayor of London consulted on options for "incentivising greater 'building up'" across London.

The consultation proposed that upward extensions could be built up to the roofline of an adjoining building through a new permitted development right (PDR), local development orders, or London Plan policies.

Responding to the consultation in a document published alongside this week's Housing White Paper, the DCLG said that more than half of consultation responses believed a "one-size-fits-all" permitted development right to be "unworkable".

"While it was noted that it could support town centres and deliver more homes, it was recognised that the complex prior approval that would be required to protect neighbours and the character and amenity of an area would result in a permitted development right that is no less onerous than a planning application," the document said.

Instead, the DCLG's response to the consultation says that the National Planning Policy Framework will be amended to "support the delivery of additional homes by building up", across the country, not just in London.

"It is clear that building up has a role to play in meeting the need for new homes across the country, not just in London, and the Housing White Paper proposes a package of measures to support building at higher densities and using land more efficiently for development," the document says.

The DCLG's consultation response document also reveals that a proposals for a "small sites register", put forward in last February's technical consultation on planning changes will be subject to further consideration.

It said that many respondents had "questioned the merits" of a proposal for the register, intended to make it easier for developers and individuals, particularly those interested in self-build and custom-build, to identify suitable small sites for new homes.

"They stated that the exercise of publishing and updating a small sites register would be an unnecessary distraction from plan-making and planning for housing and would be a disproportionate burden in view of the likely levels of housing it would deliver," the document said.

It said that, given the views and concerns raised, "our intention is first to explore with local planning authorities and the commercial sector the information they are currently making available on small sites and whether they are able to provide greater transparency". The document added: " If necessary, we will then look again at whether to require local planning authorities to hold a small sites register."


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