In the last few weeks the government has announced a year-long relaxation of current planning laws. But what does this mean exactly to you and I? And what's the reason behind it all?
What the new rules mean?
Under the new proposed rules, homeowners will be able to avoid the lengthy bureaucracy and costs associated with getting planning permission to build onto their home. For a whole year, they'll be able to build up to eight metres into their gardens without requiring any council planning permission.
At the moment, the current law states that if you want to extend your property any more than three metres from it's rear wall, you need to get planning permission. Applications are long-winded and complicated and can take at least eight weeks to get considered. The new laws will scrap this, allowing you to go up to eight metres, without the need for full planning permission.
So, if you're considering the idea of adding a conservatory, loft extension or a garage conversion, then now could be the ideal time to get on with it.
What about businesses?
The government wants businesses to benefit from the relaxation in rules, as well. So, if you own a shop you can expand it by 100sq m, and an industrial unit can go up to 200sqm. Shops and offices will be allowed to develop up to the boundary of their premises.
If you live in a conservation area or in a listed building then some restrictions will still apply, so check them out before getting the builders in.
What's it all about?
The government wants to kick-start the economy, and sees this temporary measure as a way to boost growth. It'll ease the burdens placed on homeowners and businesses who want to expand and put their improvement plans into place, but are put off or thwarted by the current restrictions.
How can it benefit you and I?
We all know what a tough housing market it is, and has been, for a good while. Relaxing the planning laws will be ideal for those families who need the extra space, but can't afford to move house, or don't have the motivation that the upheaval of moving brings. It'll allow these families to consider other options to make their current home bigger, such as adding on a conservatory for extra living space, converting the attic into an additional bedroom, or converting the garage into living or working areas.
It'll mean that families can get on with the job, without the hassle, time and expense incurred with the planning paperwork, or the worry that the application might get turned down.
Businesses looking to expand can reap the benefits of adding to their existing workspace, rather than having the unnecessary headache of searching for new premises and all the upheaval associated with relocating. Many businesses may have the ambition and desire to expand, but have been put off by the current planning laws. The relaxation of the laws could well give them the green light to go ahead and put those ambitions into place.
Find out more about the planning laws by clicking here.