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Relaxed rules for house extensions could become permanent, says minister

Proposals to extend permitted development rights, dubbed a planning ‘free-for-all’, could be kept beyond the initial three year trial period, according to government sources

Newly appointed planning minister, Nick Bowles, has spoken out in support of proposals to change planning rights in the UK suggesting that, if accepted, the changes could be made permanent.

Announced last month, the proposals are part of measures to boost construction by doubling the size of extension which a home owner can build without planning consent.

The proposals have been the subject of much criticism from local authorities, who are concerned the changes could lead to unsightly and out of character development.

Bowles struck out at local councils, who have been vocal against the proposals, saying ‘I can see that it is a liberalisation but it is hardly a crime against humanity.’

He stressed that legislation on building regulations and access to light would remain in place.

An eight week consultation on the changes will begin within the next two weeks.


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Readers' comments (3)

  • A charter for cowboy builders and slum landlords. Will do nothing for the housebuilding industry other than encourage more shoddy unsustainable extensions and produce yet more party wall, boundary and other neighbour disputes. Encouraging more affordable housing is what is needed not sops to the middle and upper classes. Bowles is out of touch and frankly incompetent. Still what do you expect from the Tory party.

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  • I think this is an excellent initiative but not one which is going to drive the economy.
    Increasing the density of existing urban areas makes good sense - rather than building in the green belt.
    However small projects are not going to amount to huge increases in construction spending across the economy.
    The upside is that there will be opportunities for the majority of architects in the UK who work in micro practices and depend on small domestic projects.

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  • Absolutely agree with Neville MOrgan and absolutely disagree with Lucy Mori. Unless you live in a high density area with traditional period housing stock, it is difficult to understand what the existing regulations do for poor quality extensions. The majority of the "extensions are us" companies are limited in skills and expertise, cut corners, use unsuitable materials and invariably cause ructions with neighbours. They have no knowledge of planning, building regs and party wall issues and work prohibited hours. London is too densely populated already and older housing stock is being turned into something it was never designed to be. Small terraced houses are being turned into 4 bedroomed houses with unsympathetic dormer extensions and plastic windows overlooking and overshadowing neighbours. Unpleasant and unregulated .

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