A Year to Benefit from Planning Relaxation
Those looking to extend their home can do so relatively easily at the moment thanks to a relaxation of some of the planning rules. However, if you want to benefit from this, you only have until next spring to do so. It could save you a great deal of time and trouble if your project can be completed without the need for planning permission.
Many homeowners consider extending their home or carrying out major renovations rather than having to move. This can provide you with the additional space you require without the stress and hassle of finding a new property.
Who Can Benefit?
At the current time, many of these projects don't require you to seek planning approval before starting work. This includes adding an extension, converting loft space or building a conservatory. This amnesty announced by the government only lasts until spring 2016, so you need to start work on any projects soon if you want to take advantage. The government is currently consulting on how the amnesty has worked and deciding if it should be extended. However, there is also uncertainty around the general election and how any future government will operate the planning system.
Not everyone can take advantage of not having to apply for planning permission. For instance, those living in conservation areas or in listed buildings are not included. There are some types of building work that will also still require planning permission, such as fitting a balcony to the exterior of your home with any type of balcony railing.
Many of the projects that householders will look at to extend space will come under the scope of Permitted Development (PD). This means that we can extend our homes without applying for planning permission, as long as we abide by the rules.
There are many benefits of not requiring planning approval for a project. It can save you valuable time, as often applications can become stalled in the system, especially if there are objections to the work from neighbours or other interested parties. You will need to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness, but this is a much more straightforward process.
The Rules of PD
Before you start any work on your property, it's best to speak to an architect or the local council first to discuss your plans. They will be able to advise you on the requirements for planning permission and ensure you don't go against the rules. If there are any minor issues with your work or you have not followed the rules exactly, you can be forced to take the work down. For instance, if you've had a balcony built, such as one with a steel balcony railing, without gaining the necessary approval, the local planning department can enforce rules requiring you to dismantle it until permission is granted.
There are many advantages of PD for property owners, and it can make the process of extending your home far easier and smoother. If you're looking at using this system, it's vital that you understand the rules and follow them precisely.