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14 September 2008

Homeowners to benefit from ease of planning restrictions

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by Kay Mitchell

Homeowners to benefit from ease of planning restrictions

The Government has announced an easing of planning restrictions on extensions and loft conversions.

It is hoped the new measures, which come into effect next month, will help families who can’t afford to move to extend their homes instead.

The new measures will mean extensions of up to two storeys that do not extend more than 10-feet from the back of the property can be constructed without planning consent.

Loft conversions can also proceed without any planning permission if they do not extend more than eight inches from the eaves and are no more than 50 cubic metres in size.

As a result of the collapse of the housing market and the mortgage squeeze, many families have been unable to sell their home. Statistics show that over 11% of people move house each year with 50% of people changing properties within five years, usually due to them needing more space.

As well as getting rid of the red tape associated with extensions and loft conversions, the Government said those adding extra rooms would not have to pay more council tax.

It is believed the easing of the planning restrictions will remove around 80,000 planning applications (25%) from the system, saving £40 million.

The new regulations have been welcomed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors but a spokesperson for the organisation, Andrew Walker, said it is often not the size of an extension but the ability to overlook which causes dispute amongst neighbours.


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