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New Planning Laws for Extra Space

You can now add two storeys to a home without getting full planning permission under new laws. Homeowners keen to build upwards on their properties will be offered a speedier approval process.

The new rules for England have been laid out in parliament and will come into effect by September.

The measures are part of an overhaul of ‘outdated and bureaucratic’ planning permission and it means homeowners of detached properties can expand their current living space upwards rather than having to move.


Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said he hoped people would use the powers to add space for elderly relatives or additional bedrooms for growing families.


The changes, which apply to owners of detached properties, will allow homeowners to expand their current living space upwards to two storeys, up to a height of 18 metres. As such, families will be able to extend their home under the same permitted development rights used for small extensions and loft conversions.


Planning laws have previously prevented homeowners from extending houses above a certain height, depending on the size and type of property.


From September this year, families will be offered a speedy approval process.

Under the new rules means you'll have a decision within eight weeks.

Local planning authorities will still be required to consult with neighbours regarding the plans, although the powers to block extensions will be reduced.

The reforms don't apply to protected areas such as conservation areas or national parks, meaning homeowners in such areas still need to apply for full planning permission. 

Current planning permission can take between eight and 16 weeks to get hold of and gives neighbours the opportunity to formally object to plans.

But under the reforms, homeowners will be able to apply to extend their properties through a "fast-track approval service" and then get a response within eight weeks.

The reforms limit the powers for local communities to block extensions, which could spark rows over unsightly developments.


The Ministry of Housing insists developers will still have to comply with building regulations, and consider the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.

It said the changes - which will also allow empty commercial properties in town centres to be converted into homes - will reduce pressure to build on greenfield sites.

Councils will, however, be able to block extensions for a limited number of reasons including traffic congestion, flood risk and noise pollution.


Mr 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."


If you are thinking about an extension or loft extension, please do contact us for a free consultation.

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