Homeowners will be allowed to build single-story extensions that
stretch up to eight metres beyond their property's rear wall with
more ease as the government cut the official planning procedures
says Michael Fiddes, Head of Agecy at
Strutt & Parker.
The government hopes that by substantially reducing the amount
of paperwork required to build the most common extensions such as a
conservatory, loft extension or garage conversion they can revive
the property industry and help kick-start growth across the rest of
Strutt & Parker's head of Building Consultancy, Jane Henshaw,
explains: "Local contractors who specialise in smaller jobs will
receive a huge boost from this news. I'm sure it will have a
positive effect on local businesses as home owners can get a
builder in quickly, start talking, and begin the work much sooner
without the delay of form-filling and red-tape. However some home
owners are concerned about an increase in unsightly blots on the
landscape as households won't need the permission to build when the
current procedures are axed."
The new rules do not apply universally, those who are in
conservation areas, listed buildings or national parks will still
have to go through the same processes as before. The change is one
of a series of ''growth announcements'' expected from the
government and will come into effect within weeks as papers get
pushed through parliament to put the guarantees in place.
Fiddes advises: "There are likely to be more neighbourly
disputes as building works disrupt views and noise levels increase.
I always advise people to weigh up all options before deciding to
extend - it may be more cost-effective to move to a bigger house
rather than altering your current home. If you do decide to expand,
it is still important to run your proposals past the planning
officer at your local planning department, and the Party Wall Act
concerning giving notice to neighbours still applies."
In addition to relaxing the rules on home improvements there
will also be an extension of the FirstBuy scheme to encourage new
homeowners, with funding for another 16,500 new homeowners,
providing new buyers with a loan of up to 20 per cent of their new