Government spin on Permitted Development Changes?
On the 10th September the Government released this press release for the new changes to the
permitted development (plus other stuff).
Read with rose tinted glasses...
Better rules will help home improvements and world heritage sites
|10 September 2008
New development rules which will cut the red tape for home improvements, combat
the effects of climate change and protect World Heritage sites have been introduced today by Housing and
Planning Minister Caroline Flint.
New planning regulations being laid in Parliament today will mean that from October the majority of homeowners
will no longer need to get planning permission when extending their existing homes.
The changes will allow people to build both up and out for the first time without needing to pay to up to £1000
to be granted specific planning permission. As a result, a quarter of all householder applications (80,000) will be
removed from the planning system each year, potentially saving the nation up to £50m.
Importantly the new rules strike a balance between freeing homeowners to make improvements and limiting the size
of an extension so the neighbours are protected - larger more intrusive extensions will still require
permission. In addition, no-one undertaking these types of home improvements will be required to pay any additional
council tax on their homes.
Housing and Planning Minister Caroline Flint said:
"Today I am scrapping the red tape so it is much easier to convert the loft into that extra bedroom and
build on an extension.
"The new rules will cut out planning permission for about 80,000 households a year and crucially saving as
much as £1000 in some cases - a real difference to already stretched family finances making home improvement an
increasingly attractive option.
"Often people grow out of the family home, but now those who don't really want to move will find it easier
to improve instead."
Secondly, the regulations will also reduce the flood risks caused by surface water run off. New driveways or
parking areas over five square metres will not require planning permission if they are constructed using 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.
By giving only permeable surfacing automatic permission homeowners will be encouraged to consider the impact of
their surface water drainage much more carefully and to ensure the effects of that run off reduces the likelihood
of neighbourhood flooding.
Surface water can be drained using permeable surfaces such as concrete block paving with gaps, porous asphalt or
gravel, wheel track only paving or through installation of 'soak-away' systems.
Ms Flint added:
"Many homes also need better protection against flooding which is why the changes will promote permeable
surfaces for driveways that allow surface water drainage - a major factor in recent floods."
Thirdly, all 17 English World Heritage Sites will be upgraded to the same protection levels
as conservation areas, national parks and areas of outstanding beauty. For the first time these sites which include
the Tower of London, Hadrian's Wall, Westminster Palace, Maritime Greenwich and Durham Castle will be protected
against potentially damaging development.
Currently only around half of our World Heritage Sites are protected by conservation status. Even minor
development such as roof alterations or erecting new buildings nearby can have a devastating impact on a World
Heritage Site. The changes will no longer allow any sort of development without getting specific planning
Ms Flint added:
"All English World Heritage Sites will now have conservation status protection from potentially damaging
development that could threaten their iconic status, character and authenticity."
Also going live today on the planning portal website is a new interactive guide to help consumers understand the
planning requirements when making home improvements. People simply click on the part of the house they are changing
and it explains the rules. In addition, a new user friendly guide will be published for builders and DIYers to help
explain the types of acceptable surfaces for front gardens.
Notes to editors
1. The revised General Permitted Development Order can be found at www.opsi.gov.uk (external link).
2. Until now householders have only been able to get either 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 - 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. Non
overbearing loft conversions will also be allowed automatic permission which will make a real difference for people
living smaller properties. We have already introduced change to the rules so homeowners can install solar panels
without planning permission.
4. 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 40m 3 . 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 50m 3 . 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 50m 3 . 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
5. 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.
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.
World Heritage Sites
7. The Government is committed to protecting places in Britain of real historical importance and last year the
DCMS published the first Heritage Bill in 30 years. The bill will unify heritage protection regimes and devolve
decisions to English Heritage. The development controls for heritage sites will cover all the 17 English sites
which are as follows (date of inscription by UNESCO in brackets):
- Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
- Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
- Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (1986)
- Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey (1986)
- Blenheim Palace (1987)
- City of Bath (1987)
- Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Hadrian's Wall) (1987)
- Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey & St Margaret's Church (1987)
- Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey & St Michael's Church (1988)
- Tower of London (1988)
- Maritime Greenwich (1997)
- Derwent Valley Mills (2001)
- Dorset and East Devon 'Jurassic' Coast (2001)
- Saltaire (2001)
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003)
- Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City (2004)
- Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (2006)
8. The new interactive guide to home improvements can be found at: www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/hhg/houseguide.html (external
9. The 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.