In September the government announced a variety of changes to the planning system in a bid to “roll its sleeves up and do all it can to kick-start the economy”. The new measures aim to make it easier to build a home, easier to buy a first home and easier to extend a home. The emphasis is certainly on making everything easier. However, will this impact the economy in the way the government envisages? This article is too short, and the topic too wide, to delve in depth into this question, but we can take this opportunity to outline the changes to Permitted Development rights.
It is proposed that over a temporary three year period, permitted development rights will be increased so that larger extensions to homes can be built without the need for planning permission. The effect of this is that permission will only be required for extensions reaching beyond 8 metres for detached homes and 6 metres for others.
This change certainly cuts through the current red-tape, but will it meaningfully contribute to any solution to the economic troubles? The answer is far less certain, and many quarters are sceptical of its impact. Reservations voiced highlight that finance will still be required to build extensions (finance that many don’t have, and can’t arrange through lenders) and that architects will be marginalised, as the process of design may be skipped, therefore the anticipated boost to the economy won’t be quite as impressive.
As an aside, what will the effect on the land be? There are concerns that urban green-space and biodiversity will be adversely affected, whilst unsightly and un-neighbourly development will instigate neighbour disputes. This outcome is hardly in the spirit of the government’s ideals of “localism” and putting the power back in the hands of communities in terms of development.