The Government’s plan to extend permitted development rights will come into effect by next month.
The new laws will enable developers to adapt commercial and retail buildings into housing without making a full planning application extending permitted development (PD) rights , which already allow office buildings to be converted.
In addition, full planning applications will no longer be required to tear down buildings and rebuild them as housing.
Property owners will also be allowed to add two more storeys of accommodation to existing residential units to allow increased living space for growing families through a fast track approval process, with a requirement to carefully deliberate the effect on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
“We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing.
“These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities. It will mean that families can add up to 2 storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows.”
Pubs, libraries, village shops and other buildings essential to communities will not be included in these new changes.
Permitted development has existed since the UK planning system was introduced in 1948. In 2013, the law was significantly changed to allow the conversion of offices to residential use without planning permission.