By Communities and Local Government web site
Home extension freedoms begin today
Improving your home just became a whole lot easier for tens of thousands of families Housing
and Planning Minister Caroline Flint announced today.
Following regulations laid on the 10 September the new planning rules coming in effect today mean that the
majority of homeowners will no longer need to get planning permission to extend their home.
The changes allow people to extend their home up and out for the first time without needing to pay the costs (up
to £1000) or wait weeks to get planning permission to start building.
About 80,000 households will now find it easier to improve their homes because they no longer have to go through
the bureaucratic hurdles of the planning system.
Importantly carefully calculated size limits on these permitted extensions mean the new rules strike the right
balance between helping homeowners to better their home and protecting neighbours against larger inappropriate or
Finding out what the planning requirements are has never been easier thanks to a new interactive house guide
that helps people who want to improve their home ensuring no one falls foul of the new rules.
The website www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/hhg/houseguide.html
(external link) guides users round the planning permission rules for homes from everything at the front and back of
house through to each floor inside.
All people have to do is click on the part the house they are changing whether it's a loft conversion, the
driveway, solar panels, fencing, or even the bathroom and a pop up explains all the new rules.
Housing and Planning Minister Caroline Flint said:
"From today people will find it has become much easier to convert the loft and build on an extension.
"The changes the government has made will mean about 80,000 households a year no longer have to get planning
"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."
In addition the changes today mean that anyone who wants to put in a new driveway
or parking area over five square metres will not require planning permission if they use surfaces that allow the
water to soak through the ground.
Two thirds of the homes affected by the floods last year (about 55, 000) were due to surface water
run-off causing £3bn of damage. Surface water flooding can be easily avoided by using permeable surfaces such as
concrete block paving with gaps, porous asphalt or gravel, wheel track only paving or through installation of
By using only permeable surfacing homeowners can reduce the negative impact of surface water drainage
on their properties making flooding significantly less likely.
Ms Flint added:
"Many homes also need better protection against flooding which is why the changes promote
permeable surfaces for driveways that allow surface water drainage - a major factor in recent floods."
Notes to editors
1. The new interactive guide to home improvements can be found at: www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/hhg/houseguide.html
2. Until now householders have only been able to have a maximum of 70m3 which
often mean a small loft conversion or a rear extension without requiring planning permission. Anyone who had
previously extended their property - by as little a 10 per cent in the case of terraced houses - found they
required planning permission.
3. The new rules will now allow both and be based on straightforward measurements for what is permissible
for loft conversions and rear extensions. For example a 1 storey extension could be up to 3 metres deep. Loft
conversions of 40 or 50m3 will also be allowed automatic permission which will make a real
difference for people living smaller properties.
Rear extensions will no longer have volume caps. Loft conversions continue to have an overall volume cap to
control overbearing conversions on larger homes. This means that:
- Terraced houses: loft conversions can be up to 20cms back from the eaves of the roof or have a maximum
volume of 40m3. In addition a single or two storey rear extension can go back a
maximum of 3m from the original house.
- Semi-detached: loft conversions can be up to 20cms back from the eaves of the roof or have a maximum volume
of 50m3. In addition a single or two storey rear extension can go back a maximum of 3m
from original house.
- Detached: loft conversions can be up to 20cms back from the eaves of the roof or have a maximum volume of
50m3. In addition a rear extension can either be a single storey extension going 4m
back, or two storey one going 3m back from the original house.
4. Local authorities will be able to introduce local variations by using Local Development Orders to allow
bigger extensions or Article 4 Directions to restrict development where necessary.
5. The revised General Permitted Development Order can be found at: www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/pdf/uksi_20082362_en.pdf
6. Extensions and conversions are widely cited as the best way to increase the value of a property - a
recent building society survey found that on average extensions added 12 per cent and lofts conversions 11 per cent
to a property's value much lower than constructions costs usually around £10,000.
7. A user friendly guide for builders and DIYers to help explain the types of acceptable permeable surfaces
for front gardens is available at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/pavingfrontgardens.
8. We have already introduced change to the rules so homeowners can install solar panels without planning
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