New rules cut planning permission red tape

Cut red tape

Thousands of homeowners are set to benefit following the introduction of new home improvement rules that aim to cut the red tape associated with home extensions.

From 1 October, new laws come into play that mean the majority of homeowners will no longer need to seek planning permission to extend their homes. The changes, laid in Parliament on 10 September, could save people carrying out extensions as much as £1,000 in costs and should also reduce delays to building work.

The government says an estimated 80,000 households will now find it easier to improve their homes; and with the current housing market downturn prompting many people to improve rather than move, the new laws couldn’t be more timely.

Improvements covered by the new rules include loft extensions, outbuildings (such as sheds, swimming pools and even tennis courts) general extensions (for example, expanding your kitchen), and garden decking.

Plus, anyone wanting to put in a new driveway or parking area over five square metres will no longer require planning permission to do so, as long as they use surfaces that allow the water to soak through the ground.

Caroline Flint , the housing and planning minister, says: "People will find it has become much easier to convert the loft and build on an extension. At a time when the whole country is counting their pennies carefully any room to make a saving on stretched family finances is particularly welcome.”

For more information on what is covered, and what isn't, the government has launched a website outlining the new rules.

Should you move or improve?

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