Planning reforms described as “weak”

Former ministers have hit out at the government over proposed planning permission reforms and suggest that they are too weak to significantly impact on the housing crisis and that they will not allow for the rapid house building that is required. Meanwhile, the government has stated that they will offer more innovation to development.

One year ago, the government produced a white paper that promised to fix the housing market and recently it has stated that changes will be made to make it easier for homeowners to build on their properties. These proposals are currently at draft stage.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, the former ministers for architecture, planning and housing ministers John Penrose, Nick Boles and Mark Prisk say that permitted development rights should be extended, especially when it comes to the height of buildings.

They say that local councils could ensure that designs complied with local styles or say that only existing dwellings could be added to in this way.

The current draft changes say that height additions will be limited to two stories. The government states that permitted development right currently allow for loft extensions and outwards extensions and the new proposal allow for further upwards building without planning permission.

Javid says that more use needs to be made of the space already available and that the new rules will offer developers the chance to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible.

Melanie Leech from the British Property Federation has agreed that the changes will make it easier to add floors to a home, which could allow underused homes to become several flats. However, she does acknowledge that local infrastructure should be able to adequately support the growing population that would be the inevitable result of these types of developments.

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