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.”