“Planning permission” – two words that can strike fear into the heart of any homeowner who’s hoping to transform their home with a major addition like an extension. From drawing up plans, submitting all the documents, getting the approval of neighbours and passing the scrutiny of the local authority – it can be enough to put some people off the process in the first place.

Luckily for homeowners in England, a relaxation to the rules on extensions which allows homeowners to proceed without planning permission are now being made permanent, cutting the stress for ambitious homeowners when it comes to improving their homes.

The rules mean that single-storey extensions of up to 6m for terraced and semi-detached homes, and up to 8m for detached homes, can now be built without the need for going through the full planning process. Instead, homeowners now notify the local authority ahead of the work taking place, and the local authority informs neighbouring properties. The council can then consider if the plans will harm the character of the area if neighbours raise objections.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 110,000 families have taken advantage of the temporary rules over the past six years.

 

Red tape

 

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape. By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.”

He added that the moves were part of a drive to improve the UK housing market, though the changes do not apply to properties in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, where extensions of more than 3m or 4m will still need to go through the planning process.

Building an extension can be a stressful time without the added headache of going through the planning process. However, homeowners and tradespeople have both benefited from the relaxed rules. Last year MyBuilder surveyed extension builders towards the end of the busy summer season and found that a majority said they were busier in 2018 than at any other point in their career. Most reported that their schedules were fully booked for several months in advance, while some had waiting lists as long as a year.

If you’re interested in getting an extension project started, you can post a job today and get the process started.