The Government is making a temporary law that allows people to build rear extensions without having to go through the planning process permanent.

Thousands of homeowners have been given the green light to extend their properties without having to apply for planning permission.

The Government introduced temporary rules giving homeowners more freedom to build extensions in 2013. It has now made them permanent.

The rules enable homeowners in England to build single-storey rear extensions of up to six metres on a terraced or semi-detached property and eight metres on a detached one without having to submit a full planning application.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.

“By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.”

Why is this happening?

The move is part of a package of reforms designed to help make the property market more efficient.

Not only will families have more certainty about the modifications they can make to their homes, but the Government is also scrapping restrictive planning rules for commercial property to make it easier for business owners to respond to changing trends on the high street.

Under so called permitted development rights, property owners will be allowed to convert shops into offices without having to go through the planning process.

A modern kitchen extension with skylight and bi-fold doors

Who does it affect?

The move is good news for homeowners who want to extend their existing property rather than face the cost and upheaval of trading up the ladder.

The Government sought to reassure anxious neighbours that the measures took into account the potential impact extensions would have on nearby properties, by limiting their length and height.

It is hoped that giving property owners the right to change shops into offices will also help to breathe new life into beleaguered high streets.

What’s the background?

More than 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under the relaxed rules.

But homeowners should note that permitted development rights do not apply to flats or maisonettes, as well as to properties in certain ‘designated areas’, such as conservation areas, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The Government has previously also proposed making it easier to extend properties upwards.

It launched a consultation last year on allowing spaces above shops, garages and car parks to be converted into homes, especially in areas of high demand.

It has set a target to have 300,000 new homes built every year, with 1 million properties added to the UK’s housing stock by the end of 2020.

But building levels still remain well below this figure, with only 165,000 new homes built last year.

Top 3 takeaways

  • Thousands of homeowners have been given the green light to extend their properties without having to apply for planning permission

  • The Government has made temporary rules giving homeowners more freedom to build extensions permanent

  • The rules enable homeowners in England to build single-storey rear extensions of up to six metres on a terraced or semi-detached property and eight metres on a detached one without submitting a full planning application

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