This is what we know so far and a view of the proposals:-
Eric Pickles, Minister for Local Government and Communities today announced a raft of measures to kick start the building industry. This is a broad outline of what we know so far:-
Extensions that can be built without planning permission are currently restricted to 3 metres in depth. There are other restrictions including height. Although not announced by Eric Pickles, it has been widely reported that the depth of an extension not requiring planning permission is to be increased to a maximum 6 metres in depth for a semi-detached property and 8 metres for a detached property. No information is available yet regarding the other restrictions such as height, conservation areas etc.
It is stated that the new legislation will be discussed in Parliament over a six week period and all being well, the legislation will be passed and come into operation in the early part of 2013. The speed is possible because the legislation is what is called “secondary legislation” and can be fast tracked for approval.
There are proposals for funding for guarantee schemes for large developers.
There will be additional funding for first time buyers to help them get on the property ladder.
There will be powers against Planning Authorities who regularly lag behind in the figures for approvals of Planning applications.
In cases where planning permission has already been granted, if the developer cannot get funding because the “affordable housing” element of the approval is proving too costly, it will be possible for this condition to be removed, thus enabling a developer to attract the necessary funding.
It is early days, and we will update this post when we have more information, but as it stands it is the opinion of ConstructAid that there may be problems with this legislation. These problems can be highlighted as follows:
None of this legislation will address the process of applying and obtaining Building Regulation approval. Building consent is for adequacy of the strength and quality of the structure itself and will not change under this legislation. Plans are required to be submitted with an application, usually with far more details than the plans required by Planning. Planning applications are usually decided on within a statutory eight week period. Building Regulation approval is often over a similar time scale so no time will be saved by not applying for planning permission. Building Regulation approval can actually take longer in certain circumstances, for example, when structural calculations need to be approved by the structural engineers department. Little or no time is saved by not applying for planning permission, although there would be a saving of £150 for the Council’s planning fee. As the plan drawn for submission to Building Control is more detailed than that used for submission to the Planning Department, there are no cost savings on our fees for not applying for Planning Permission.
Even in cases where no planning permission is required, ConstructAid always advise our clients to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate (we apply for this on your behalf) as proof that no planning permission was required for the proposal. This is required by a future buyer should you sell the property in the future. The Council’s fee for this is half the planning fee, so currently £75. Also, there are other rules governing permitted development such as the height of paving, conservation areas etc. A Planning Officer would visit the property to confirm suitability and compliance before issuing the Lawful Development Certificate. This avoids any potential problems in the future.
What about if you have already had Planning Permission granted but now wish to wait in order to get a larger side extension? Speak to ConstructAid for advice on this. As far as the present situation is concerned, ConstructAid are of the view that some builders/developers may have some of clients wanting to hold up building their extension as a result of this and this could cause financial problems for small developers. This is the opposite of what is intended which is to “kick start” the building trade. It is difficult to predict the impact at this stage. Although a larger extension may be appealing to some, the additional costs involved, i.e. doubling the cost of the work could mean that the legislation has little or no effect on the small builders/developers. Time will tell on this one!
Another issue is with the Party Wall Act. Such a large extension could have serious implications on neighbouring properties of mid-terraced houses. We will have to wait to see the detail, but it is worth bearing this in mind. ConstructAid will advise on this blog if we feel this legislation will have an adverse impact on the Party Wall Act as soon as the fine details of the proposals are announced.
Here is a link to the announcement today by Eric Pickles MP:
Please contact ConstructAid should you require further advice on these proposals.
Author: Susan Robinson