New planning and housing proposals
The government has unveiled proposed measures to relax planning rules to boost the economy, which could mean temporary changes to planning applications.
Published Thursday, 6 September 2012
What changes do the Government want to see?
The government wants to relax planning rules for the construction industry and owners of homes and businesses in England. This includes removing some requirements to build social housing (affordable housing) as part of a development, an extension of a scheme to help first-time buyers and new government guarantees for major infrastructure projects. They also want the rules on extending homes and business premises to be relaxed for a temporary period.
Why do they want to relax planning rules?
Ministers think that the changes will boost the economy by helping the construction sector and first-time buyers in particular. The idea is to "slash some of the unnecessary red tape across the planning system" though the government recognises that some of the proposals will be seen as controversial.
What are the main changes proposed?
Affordable homes: The existing requirement on developers to provide a proportion of affordable homes in any development will be relaxed. Developers who successfully argue that a council's affordable housing requirements make a project "commercially unviable" will see the requirements removed.
On the rented sector: The government will invest in housing sites to create 5,000 homes for rent at market rates.
Businesses and commercial premises: More applications to build commercial and housing developments will be fast-tracked, and developers will be allowed to bypass local councils if town hall planning departments are believed to be performing poorly. Businesses will be able to expand by 100 square metres and industrial units by 200 square metres. Shops and offices will also be able to grow to the edges of their premises.
Extensions and loft conversions in private homes: Ministers will consult on plans to let people build larger loft conversions and extensions on houses without planning permission from their local planning department in non protected (ie conservation) areas. It would double the permitted length of extensions to 8m for detached homes and 6m for others, although it would retain the rule that extensions should not take up more than half the garden.
None of the proposed changes are currently in force and the planning rules remain as they are for all the above for the time being. The government will be consulting on the proposals before they are formally adopted.
For more information see BBC News.