Planning rules relaxed for home extensions

The relaxation of regulations to allow people to build bigger extensions without planning permission has come into force, with the aim of boosting Britain’s economy. It is also good news for business, as shops and industrial units are also allowed to expand their premises within certain limits.

The generous new allowance – up to eight metres long for an extension on a detached house, six metres for others – is potentially only going to be available for a limited period of time and this may result in a rush to build new home extensions before the original rules are reinstated, says residential conveyancing specialist Ben Mowll.

“The Prime Minister said the change in the law is a way of ‘getting the planners off our backs’ and boosting the construction industry,” says Ben, a Partner with Kent law firm Furley Page.

“Now that the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 is in force it increases permitted development rights for extensions to homes and business premises and the re-using of existing buildings.

“The permitted depth of a single storey rear extension will increase from four metres to eight metres for detached houses. For other houses, such as semi-detached and bungalows, this will mean an increase from three to six metres. Limitations will apply to reduce the impact on neighbouring properties. These changes will be in force for a three-year period.

“So if you are thinking of taking advantage and your scheme falls between the existing and new ranges, it’s not simply a matter of commencing work. You will need to go through the prior approval procedure and notify your Local Planning Authority (LPA) before starting work. The Local Planning Authority will tell the neighbouring properties and if they object the LPA will determine whether your plan is acceptable or not,” adds Ben.

People must not start development until one of the following steps has taken place:

A receipt by the developer of a written notice from the LPA that prior approval is not required

A receipt by the developer of a written notice from the LPA that prior approval is given

42 days have expired following the date the LPA received details of the proposed extension and the LPA has not notified the developer that approval is given or refused

“However, if you live in a protected area (such as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Conservation Area, such as the middle of Canterbury, or a site of special scientific interest) then all of these changes do not apply. You will, of course, need building regulation consent,” adds Ben.

For more information about planning regulations, contact Ben Mowll on 01227 763939, emailbnbm(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign), or visit