By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors
For people planning an extension to their homes, the latest relaxation of red tape by Planning Minister Nick Bowles means that there may never have been a better time to start a project.
Between now and May 2016, permitted development rights have been eased, meaning more can be done without planning permission.
Previously, home owners had been allowed to build single-storey extensions of up to three metres deep in the case of an attached property, or four metres for detached homes, under permitted development. During this temporary period, these distances have been increased to six and eight metres respectively.
However, there is by no means a free for all, as there are various restrictions in place that could limit what home owners can do.
In order to fall within permitted rights, the roof of an extension must not measure more than four metres high or protrude above the existing roof line of a property or beyond the front elevation. In addition, the extension, along with the outbuildings, must not cover more than half the area of the existing garden.
The property must not be listed or have exhausted its permitted development rights through having been extended since it was built, or since July 1, 1948, if older than that.
So what needs to be done to make the most of this opportunity?
In the first instance, home owners need to check all of the regulations and make sure that what is being proposed meets all of the conditions.
Secondly, making sure neighbours are on board is important. Development under the relaxed rulings is only permitted if neighbours have been consulted, have been shown the drawings of the proposed extension, and do not have any objections to them.
Thirdly, it is important to remember that, just because planning permission is not required this doesnt mean that the local authority need not be informed. Building regulations will still be required.
Two storey extensions may also be permitted under these rules, but again there are restrictions to adhere to. The old size rules of three metres for an attached property and four where it is detached apply. In addition, the extension cannot come within seven metres of the rear boundary.
With the property market positive but not fully recovered, many home owners are opting to improve by refurbishing or extending rather than selling up. Although the rules are now relaxed, home owners should arm themselves with as much information as possible. Further useful guidance can be found on the interactive house section of planningportal.gov.uk.
For further information:
or call 01325 341 500.