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Planning rules relaxed ‘to avoid owners selling homes’

Homeowners will be able to extend properties more easily instead of moving home.

In a surprise announcement this morning - less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister resigned - the housing minister says this relaxation will allow more people to have a home they want without what he calls the “arduous” process of selling up and buying a larger property.

If the initiative is taken up by the public in large numbers it will reduce still further the volume of housing transactions each year, reducing business for agents and industry suppliers.


The measure is not new in principle: it was first introduced in 2013 but as a temporary scheme and with relatively limited publicity. 

Now it is being made permanent with a higher profile announcement.

Under the rules, homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes, or eight metres for detached homes.

Over 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under the previously temporary rules. 

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP says of this latest permitted development power: “[It] will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape. By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move.

“This is part of a package of reforms to build more, better, faster and make the housing market work - and sits alongside our drive to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s.

“This step will make it easier for families to build outwards rather than go through the arduous process of moving to a larger home.”

As part of the reforms shops will now be able to change to office space without the need for a full planning application - a change which the government claims will bring “skilled professionals and their disposable income back to the high street.”

High Streets minister Jake Berry says: “Giving greater certainty to property owners and the wider industry, it will also help businesses adjust to the changing needs of the consumer.

“The move builds upon changes to the law which allow business owners to change the use of buildings from takeaways to new homes without undergoing a full planning application.”

  • Simon Shinerock

    I see nothing wrong in allowing people to extend their homes with minimal red tape. However, what I don’t understand or agree with is the idea that moving has to be a negative experience. Moving home can be and should be aspirational and it encourages mobility of labour and injects vigour and energy into the economy. The current stamp duty levels penalise aspiration and create a gummed up market. The winners are big builders who capitalise on the lack of second hand stock and the lack of choice tempts them into bad practises. What the government should do is bring stamp duty rates back down to a maximum of 5%, give tax relief back to private landlords and find a way to make mortgages and conveyancing work faster.


    You have hit the nail on the head Simon. The winners being big builders with influential friends.

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    No remove Stamp Duty totally, it was introduced in Cromwells time. Tax on tax on tax and so on. We are mugs for allowing every government to continue with it. So wrong.

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    • 25 May 2019 08:10 AM

    Yep abolishing SDLT would transform the economy.
    Many more would simply move.
    This would boost economic activity for all those engaged in anything to do with property.
    All this would be taxed activity such that the taxes raised could exceed SDLT receipts which are in decline due to the prohibitive cost of SDLT.
    Govt just needs to think out of the box.

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    Totally agree, maybe boris and his new crew will start thinking outside the box,,christ was that a flying pink pig?

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    and start listening to people actually in the industry - who know a bit about it!!

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    Whilst I don’t like paying it, I’m not convinced that SDLT actually stops most people moving. Just a thought. Keep the great work/posts guys. PS..however it would be great to see it removed

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    Its just been proved that the loss of sd to the government runs in millions but they dont include other fees lost, solicitors, estate agents, maintenance men, builders the list is not endless.
    We dont need SD its wrong its immoral and its corrupt.
    Remove it totally and money will start circulating and everybody wins clueless governments as well.

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    All sounds great but we’re missing the bigger Picture - let’s make the moving process similar. Let’s have a property log book and leave the conveyancer to concentrate on the legal work rather than worry about the boiler and electrics for example. Let’s do away with stamp duty all together and have a stronger primary home capital gains tax

    Stuart Forsdike
    PCS Legal


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