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Planning rules eased in bid to help households and high streets

By Vicky Shaw, Press Association Personal Finance Correspondent
These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape, the Government said.

Many home owners across England will be able to extend their properties quickly and easily without the need for a full planning application under rules which have now been made permanent.

Under the rules, home owners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes – or eight metres for detached homes.

Over 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under the rules which were previously temporary.

The move could make it easier for some people, such as those with growing families, to improve their existing home rather than move.

In addition, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said restrictive planning rules have also been axed, to help business owners respond quickly to changing trends on the high street.

Shops will now be able to change to office space without the need for a full planning application.

Changes also allow the temporary change of use from high street uses such shops, offices and betting shops to certain community uses such as a library or public hall.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.

“By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.”

Councillor Martin Tett, Local Government Association planning spokesman, said: “While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with home owners, the planning process exists for a reason.

“We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out of its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local planning departments.”

He continued: “The current process also means councils have limited opportunity to consider the impact of such extensions on the local area, because they don’t go through the full planning process.”