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What you need to know about changes to residential extensions

Posted by Joshua Atkinson on 28th August 2020

In July the government announced a ‘fast track approval scheme’ for residential property owners wishing to build up to two additional storeys on their existing property.

The scheme will become effective on 1st  September 2020 and is intended to facilitate growth in the construction of living space, without eating into greenfield sites.

The process will, the government hopes, ‘cut red tape’ by avoiding the need for applicants to journey through the full planning permission process. By allowing for extensions to be made to existing properties, as opposed to building new homes, the deregulation aims to safeguard the aesthetics and character of local areas.

In the words of the Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, the deregulation will provide “much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives” as households grow.

The Housing Minister also announced further deregulation for the demolition and repurposing of unused buildings into a residential or commercial property. Again, a fast track application scheme will avoid property owners from being subject to the timescales and detailed requirements of the planning system and will instead receive swifter approval to revitalise local areas and prevent urban decay.

Certain properties, such as libraries and village shops, which are integral to a local community will be excluded from the deregulation, whereas a book shop, for example, could be repurposed into office space or flats without needing a planning application or local authority approval.

The pandemic has had a huge effect on the majority of businesses and whilst restrictions are being gradually eased many businesses have had to evolve to survive, operating away from their traditional premises. How will these temporary changes influence the future of commercial property?

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