New Planning Rules Make it Easier to Build Loft Conversions in London

July 23, 2015 2:30 pm

Earlier this month. George Osbourne announced that he planned to launch huge policy changes to help London residents to build extra storeys on their homes without the need for local planning approval.

He said that the overcrowded capital desperately needs more housing and more space, and do help with that the new changes will mean that anybody will be free to build up to the level of their neighbour’s property. Currently, despite some loft conversions being allowed as permitted developments, conversions with extensive changes to the exterior of the house still need to go through planning approval which takes 8 weeks once submitted (but more when you factor in the design time, and possible rejection).

Other changes to the planning laws include:

  • A zoning system which gives automatic planning approval for building on suitable brownfield sites
  • New government powers to draft plans to meet local housing needs if the local authorities fail to produce them
  • Penalties for local authorities who make 50% or fewer planning decisions on time
  • Stronger compulsory purchase powers to make more brownfield land available
  • Devolution of planning powers to the Mayors of London and Manchester
  • New rights to fast track infrastructure projects through a Nationally Significant Infrastructure regime
  • Sanctions on local authorities who do not process smaller planning applications on time, with fee refunds

This is exciting news for a lot of our clients in London, who want to extend upwards but would have had to go through the time-consuming and costly process of gaining planning permission in the past. However, these new changes could result in more rejections, as local authorities will be under more pressure to provide responses quickly rather than consulting with the applicant. Using experienced RIBA architects, such as our partners, ensures a better chance of success in applications and a faster start to building.



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