24 July 2020 #Real Estate
The Government has announced further changes to ‘Permitted Development Rights’ which will allow homeowners to add up to two additional storeys to their home through a fast track approval process, with a "requirement to carefully consider the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension”.
Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) are rights which allow certain changes to be made to a building without the need to apply for planning permission. Under the current regime while a single storey extension would fall under PDRs a double storey extension would require planning permission. While full details of the ‘fast track approval process’ are yet to be revealed it is likely that planning permission will no longer be required.
While this news may be welcomed by those homeowners who wish to extend their homes to accommodate growing families or changing needs, there is concern that since such development will no longer fall under the scrutiny of the local planning authority that design and quality could be poor if it goes unchecked and, that it could adversely affect the character and aesthetics of our streets and neighbourhoods (which the planning system works so hard to protect). Perhaps more worrying is that neighbours will no longer have a formal route to object to this type of development.
Another issue of concern is the impact that such development will have on neighbouring homeowners. In particular, the area of greatest concern tends to be around ‘access’ and the extent to which a homeowner has to give rights of access over their property to their neighbour for building/maintenance. This is a topic that we are frequently asked to comment on and we have written a more detailed article on our website about this, which can be accessed here: Can I have access to a neighbours land to carry out works to my property
However, we have listed a few of our top considerations below:
While building an extension can be an exciting time, it is also important to remember that it may well be a worrying time for your neighbours who may have genuine concerns about how your build may affect them. We cannot reiterate enough the need to build good relations with your neighbour when embarking on a building project and suggest that you talk to them early on in the process in respect of your plans, timescales and how it might affect them. In our experience this will save time and money and potentially disputes which are often started through fear/lack of information. Ultimately once your build is finished and the dust has settled you will have to continue to live alongside your neighbours and you will enjoy the benefits of your extended home all the more if your neighbours are on side!
Please contact our Real Estate Team for further information.