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Home extensions made easier

publication date: Oct 14, 2008
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Improving a home – and thus building on its value - has been made easier following changes to the Permitted Development rules. The majority of homeowners will no longer need to get planning permission to extend their home.

The changes allow people to extend their home up and out for the first time without needing to pay the costs (up to £1000) or wait weeks to get planning permission to start building. 

About 80,000 households will now find it easier to improve their homes because they no longer have to go through the bureaucratic hurdles of the planning system. 

The size limits on these permitted extensions mean the new rules strike a balance between helping homeowners to better their home and protecting neighbours against larger inappropriate or intrusive extensions. 

Anthony Garcia-Deleito, Solicitor with Surrey firm Barlow Robbins LLP specialising in matters of Property and Conveyancing has some guidance for agents: 

Notes on the recent changes on Permitted Development 
Some development does not now need planning permission. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 conferred permitted development rights in respect of certain development and where applicable, no specific application for planning permission is needed. 

These rules have been recently added to and varied. 

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2008 was made on 10th March 2008, before coming into force on 6th April 2008. 

Other Orders provide for Wales and Scotland separately. This Order for England, in particular, made provision governing the installation of solar PV or solar thermal equipment on either a dwellinghouse; or a building situated within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse so long as within certain stated parameters but planning consent would still be required in Conservation Areas or World Heritage Sites recognised by UNESCO. Some old industrial towns in the North of England have acquired such status. 

Development is not permitted if it would either 
(a) result in the presence within the curtilage of more than one stand alone solar; or 
(b) any part of the stand alone solar would — 
(i) exceed four metres in height above ground level; 
(ii) in the case of land within a conservation area or which is a World Heritage Site, be situated within any part of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse and would be visible from the highway; 
(iii) be situated within five metres of the boundary of the curtilage; (iv) be situated within the curtilage of a listed building; or 
(c) the surface area of the solar panels forming part of the stand alone solar would exceed nine square metres or any dimension of its array (including any housing) would exceed three metres. 

The new Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (England) Order 2008 made 4th September 2008 came into force on 1st October 2008. 

A quick summary of the main changes is as follows. 
The new Rules add World Heritage Sites to the list of land in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the 1995 Order (known as “article 1(5) land”). The original 1995 Order conferred a more restricted set of permitted development rights in relation to article 1(5) land. Articles 2(2) and 2(4) make consequential amendments. 

Article 3 and the Schedule substitute a new Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the 1995 Order. Part 1 of Schedule 2 confers permitted development rights in relation to development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse. 

Changes have been made to the permitted development rights in relation to the enlargement, improvement or alteration of a dwellinghouse (Class A); the enlargement of a dwellinghouse consisting of an addition or alteration to its roof (Class B); any other alteration to the roof of a dwellinghouse (Class C); the provision within the curtilage of any building, enclosure, pool or container (Class E); and the provision within the curtilage of a hard surface (Class F). 

The previous Class G (erection or provision within the curtilage of a container) is now within the new Class E. A new Class G confers permitted development rights in relation to the installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe. 

Classes D (erection or construction of a porch) and H (installation, alteration or replacement of a microwave antenna) are unchanged. 

Article 4 amends the restrictions in Class A of Part 40 of Schedule 2 to the 1995 Order on the installation of solar photovoltaics or solar thermal equipment on a dwellinghouse or a building within its curtilage. 

Needless to say, planning law and planning rules are a specialist area which require special knowledge. So homeowners must always check with a specialist who routinely works with the practice of how the application of these rules work on a day to day basis. 

Solicitors will be required to seek to verify that there has been no transgression of the permitted development rules during house sales, purchases and re-mortgages and will not be able to certify the title without being fully satisfied as to such matters. 

Finding out what the planning requirements are has never been easier thanks to a new interactive house guide that helps people who want to improve their home ensuring no one falls foul of the new rules. 

The website: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/hhg/houseguide.html guides users round the planning permission rules for homes from everything at the front and back of house through to each floor inside. 

All people have to do is click on the part the house they are changing whether it’s a loft conversion, the driveway, solar panels, fencing, or even the bathroom and a pop up explains all the new rules.