Government sets out new property planning legislation

Proposed new property planning laws will help deliver more homes and “revitalise” town centres in England, it has been announced.

Under the legislation, set out before Parliament today, homeowners will be able to add “up to two additional storeys to their home to create new homes or extra living space for growing families” through a “fast track approval process”.

The success of the application will be based on the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.

Full planning applications, meanwhile, will no longer be required to demolish empty commercial buildings to rebuild new homes or commercial properties to help town centres adapt and flourish.

However, pubs, libraries, village shops and other essential local amenities will not be covered by the new laws to preserve the integrity of communities.

Commenting on the announcement, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing.

“These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities. It will mean that families can add up to two storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows.”

Rufus Ballaster, a Partner at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, observed: “Added to the opportunities to add up to two storeys to existing detached blocks of flats brought in recently, these wide-ranging chances to crack on with interesting projects which might otherwise have got stuck in the planning process could prove exactly the way to ‘get things done’, providing profitable activity which the UK economy needs so badly.

“Many of our clients will welcome the accelerated timetable to bring fresh accommodation to the market and to provide quality housing where it is most needed.”

It is believed the new legislation will come into effect “by September”.

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