The Government have recently announced plans to relax planning regulations on the building of extensions to residential homes.
Under current planning regulation legislation an extension can be allowed under permitted development (PD) rights and no formal planning application is required. This is subject to certain restrictions but can allow a home owner to extend their property by as much as 4m in depth and height. PD rights can be excluded in certain circumstances typically to control more sensitive areas e.g. when in a Conservation Area or a listed building.
Governments planning regulations change is an attempt to ‘boost economy’
Whilst most professionals in the industry recognise the need to simplify the system and reduce the red tape there is some concern that this window of opportunity (discussed at a period of 1 year) will see a deluge of poorly designed extensions which have not been subject to the usual rigorous checks. The Government plans to relax planning regulations for extensions to allow home owners to extend their properties by as much as 8 meters, which is almost certainly going to affect neighbouring properties through the intensification of occupancy, quiet enjoyment, and potential aesthetic values. Ultimately in the worst examples this may lead to neighbouring properties being seen as less desirable in terms of demand and value.
Garrington Property Finders believe a better way of stimulating consumer spending and growth would be to see a VAT holiday on home improvements. Currently new build properties are zero rated and any refurbishment works subject to the additional charge of VAT at the prevailing rate (20%) which when added to a tender price can have a significant effect to the detriment of activity.
It will be interesting to see when this change in policy will be adopted and whether Local Councils will have the power to overrule central government.
Garrington Property Finders always highlight the need to properly investigate the planning history both of the subject property and neighbouring houses when considering a purchase (and their potential) should it have an impact in the long term, with the announcement that the Government are considering relaxing planning regulations for extensions this will become an absolute necessity.