In a bid to resurrect the building industry and ‘kick start’ the economy the UK Government has announced new proposals which will eliminate the need for home owners to get planning permission to construct house extensions and conservatoires to their properties.

As it stands, single storey rear extensions and conservatories can be constructed without planning permission as long as they do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by four metres for detached dwellings and three metres for semi detached dwellings.  Under these new planning rules, the distance can be increased to eight metres without the need for planning permission.

Another part of this proposal is the implementation of new planning rules for businesses which will allow shops to increase their working space by 100 square metres and industrial units up to 200 square metres without the need for planning permission.  It is anticipated that these rules will be implemented in October 2012 and are estimated to last until 2015.

It is claimed these new reforms will benefit the economy by encouraging more home owners to undertake renovation works given there will be no costs or time delays associated with obtaining planning approval for these works and therefore generating work for developers.

A further announcement made by the UK government outlined that the requirement for developers to include affordable social housing in a new development will be temporarily removed so long as the planned housing within developments is for rent rather than sale.  Developers currently have to wait five years to apply to change affordable housing requirements but, with these new changes implemented it is hoped the removal of obligations on developers will result in the speeding up of development.  Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said of the change of the social housing restrictions:

“Instead of having developers sitting for five years on useless land where nothing has happened, no young people are being employed on construction sites, no affordable homes are being built, no new houses are being built for first-time buyers, we are saying ‘Let’s undo that knot at an earlier stage”.

It will be interesting to see how these new reforms play out over the next few years and if they prove successful in providing a “crucial and immediate stimulus” to the construction sector in the UK.

Contact Laura O’Higgins (lao@colliepl.com.au)