Planning permission laws relaxed

Beautiful historic building spoiled with the addition of a double glazed bathroom window
Sadly, not all planning decisions are good ones! This Grade II listed property at Nightingale Lane in Balham, London Borough of Wandsworth, was built in 1879 by the architect Thomas Colcutt; we’re not sure when the double glazing was added.

The temporary rules introduced in 2014 that allowed homeowners in England to carry out certain extensions to their properties without planning permission have been made permanent. Over 110,000 extensions have been completed since the temporary rule was introduced.

Home extensions

Householders can now build a single storey extension at the rear of their home without the need for full planning permission, as long as the new build does not extend beyond the rear wall of the house by more than six metres for a terraced and semi-detached property or eight metres for a detached home.

The housing minister said the reduction of ‘time-consuming red tape’ would enable growing families to improve their existing property instead of being forced to move to a bigger home.

Business change of use

The restrictive ‘change of use’ rules attached to business properties are also changing, and shops can now be changed into office space without the need for full planning. There will also be amendments to the rules regarding shops, office and betting shops which can now be changed to uses that benefit the community, such as libraries or public meeting places.

The Local Government Association has warned that the planning process is in existence for a reason and has called for an independent review on the impacts of changes that don’t go through the full planning process. Of particular concern is the impact on the local area from the viewpoint of neighbouring properties and business, as well as the capacity of local planning departments.

Do I need planning permission?

Check on the Planning Portal before making expensive changes to your property.

Make sure you ask a Chartered Surveyor to carry out a building survey on your new home, particularly if you’re buying property that has been altered by a previous owner.

Back to June 2019 Newsletter