AGORA

How home extensions could be fast tracked

Changes to planning rules could potentially have a massive impact on future construction plans. One of the biggest and most significant is home extensions. This can apply to extensions of up to two stories. However, this is not the only big change that is being presented in Parliament at the time of writing.

New rules

The shakeup (due to come into force in September) is designed to encourage more construction. The permission is dependent on the local area, with applicants being advised to consider “the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.”

It is worth asking why people would want to invest in increasing the space of their home. A key factor in this is creating additional space. It may be that families will want to provide a more comfortable living area for their children. In the case of people caring for elderly or vulnerable relatives, additional space will make it easier to adjust to their specific needs (for example installing interior lifts.)

It will also be possible to convert empty shops into new homes, without the need for a full planning application. The idea is that this will breathe new life into the high street, as there will be more people who live closer to town and city centres, while at the same time meeting the increasing demand for housing. Furthermore, there would be the added environmental benefit of not building on greensite locations.

Identity

One possible concern of extensions and conversions is that they may stick out from other properties in the area, affecting property value locally.  This is something that the policymakers have noted and they are optimistic that it will be possible to construct new homes and extend existing properties without affecting the overall character of the local area.

With any planning application, it is recommended you discuss this with your neighbours before starting in order to get feedback on your proposed extension and to make any reasonable adjustments if necessary.

Exceptions

There are some exceptions that are part of the new rules you should be aware of.  It is recognised that libraries, pubs and village shops are a key part of local communities and it is important that these are preserved when considering any conversions in these areas.

This is understandable because this protects services for the local people in those areas while at the same time providing something people would want when considering moving to a new village, town or city. This community spirit is something that is potentially very attractive and any changes to the rules should not negatively impact this.

The recovery

The coronavirus has had a massive impact and it is likely that many communities will have to find ways to adapt. A relaxing of the rules around extension to properties and conversion is part of the “build, build, build” strategy the government wants in order to recover after the loss of employment and jobs that followed the viral outbreak.

This may also potentially tie in with recent government advice encouraging people to return to office work. If someone lives closer to their work, then they are more likely to do so, as opposed to work remotely and this in turn would mean more people using local shops, restaurants and so forth, another aspect that could potentially boost the economy.

Keep up to date

If you are interested in extending a property and want to know more about the proposed new rules, please contact us today so that we can discuss your plans and how you could get more from your property.