Homeowners in England are being given the green light to build larger extensions without planning permission. That’s because temporary rules, which allowed bigger single-story rear extensions to be built without a full planning application, are being made permanent.
Additions to terraced and semi-detached homes can be up to 6m long, while detached houses will be able to add even larger structures, up to 8m long. Neighbours will still be consulted and can raise objections to extensions but the full planning process does not need to be undertaken by the homeowner.
Since 2013, 110,000 people have taken advantage of the temporary rules, which doubled the previous size limits of extensions that didn't require planning permission from the local authority. Instead of waiting possibly months for approval, homeowners notify their Local Authority of the intended building work beforehand, and Council officials inform the neighbours.
If the neighbours raise concerns, the Council decides if the extension is likely to harm the character or enjoyment of the area and may block the plans. But if they don’t, the homeowner is free to go ahead.
Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said the change in England means "families can grow without being forced to move. These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape."
But Martin Tett, planning spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents UK local Councils, said: "The planning process exists for a reason." He acknowledged the relaxed rules were popular with homeowners, but said it meant that Councils had little opportunity to consider the impact of extensions on their local area.
"We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out on its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local Planning Departments," he said.
So, what do you think? Is it sensible to allow a homeowner to build without so many restrictions, or are the restrictions there for good reason?
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