Monday, May 21, 2007

Key changes to planning permission

Will it soon be easier to build a garden office/shed? As reported everywhere including here in The Times by Jill Sherman, if you own your home, it will be easier to build extensions and convert your loft without planning permission as the government plans to make the whole planning process easier and faster. There's no specific mention about garden offices and I'll press them to find out if they'll be affected too. As Sherman says: "At present homeowners have to pay up to £1,000, including drawings, to obtain planning permission for minor alterations which can take between eight and sixteen weeks. Permission is needed for solar panels, satellite dishes, wind turbines, loft conversions, porches and extensions to the back or sides of properties." Apparently of the 350,000 domestic planning applications submitted to local authorities every year, more than 90 per cent are granted immediately.

Sherman continues: "Under the new proposals, to be published in a consultation paper, most home improvement developments will be able to go ahead immediately provided that they comply with height and depth restrictions and meet an 'impact test'. Those owning detached homes will be able to extend the width of their properties by 50 per cent without planning permission. They will be able to build out at the back by four metres and up to the height of the roof. They will also have much more flexibility to build garages and bike sheds in their gardens. The planning White Paper will also allow councils to fast-track small domestic and commercial extensions, unless they are proposing a change of use."

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