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What Are The Changes To The Planning Regulations

As of the 1st September 2020, many changes to planning regulations will be implemented, under the new legislation laid in Parliament in the month of July 2020. These changes are expected to address the UK’s national housing shortage, as well as boosting the construction company and development sectors and encouraging empty high street properties to be converted into homes. Let’s take a close look at how these changes will influence housing extensions and creation.

Upwards Expansions

Under the first phase of the government’s changes to planning law, blocks of flats would already be able to be expanded upwards, for the purpose of creating new homes, without the requirement for the planning permission process.

The second stage will make it easier to extend homes or build new homes over existing buildings (private or business). This will benefit property developers and the construction business, as well as empowering owners with growing families to adjust their properties to meet needs for more space, instead of expecting to move house. Also, property owners who extend upwards will have the option to create new homes in the new levels – effectively making it easier for them to support their income by becoming land owners.

What this means, is that existing houses will have the option to extend their properties upwards, by up to two stories (based on the existing number of storeys over the ground level on the original property and excluding loft conversations). There will be generally height restrictions for terraced and semi-detached properties, to ensure the character of the area and privileges of neighboring tenants.

There will also be a need to fulfill certain requirements as far as outer appearance, use of fire proof materials, location of windows (avoiding overlooking), natural light sources, and the need to defend or include the creation of access and other servicing areas, inside the planned works.

What You Need To Know

The vertical residential building expansions which are allowed under the new changes won’t need planning permission. However, another “light touch” approvals process will even now apply.

Under this new cycle, local planning authorities should be informed of the proposed works, including a report by the developer setting out how they intend to mitigate against disturbance and negative impacts to neighbors, occupiers and surrounding streets.

The planning department will take a look at the proposals against a checklist of considerations themselves, and they will also give notice of the plan to a list of invested parties, including neighbors, occupiers and a scope of public and private bodies, some of whom have the right to viably veto the proposal.

Structural Adaptations Of Buildings

The structural/designing strengthening works which will be required in most of the cases – where buildings are being made taller than their original plan and associated activities to carry out this work – are also secured within this legislation, but just where they’re being carried out as a part of a development which has been approved under the new rules.

So for land owners who need to do carry out remedial works to strengthen the building of their property, the new legislation will not cover those works, and they will at present need to apply for planning permission in the normal manner.

Not all building fall within the extent of this new permission; there is a scope of building uses, as well as buildings inside certain designated regions, and listed buildings, which are ineligible to take advantage of this amendment. Furthermore, small houses in various occupations are excluded.

In addition to the regulatory changes to help the creation of new homes, in July 2020, the UK Government also reported a range of measures to help the creating of 180,000 affordable new homes, 24,000 new homes on Brownfield Sites, and helping smaller developers to finance home building ventures, expected to result in around 7,200 new homes.

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