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Making it easier for homeowners to add two storeys to their properties

Monday 05 February 2018

Last week, Secretary of State for Housing Sajid Javid MP announced plans to make it easier for homeowners to add more storeys to their properties.

In a written statement, Javid reiterated the government's position and commitment to ensuring the planning system supports the delivery of more homes where they are needed, and recognising that one way to achieve this is to build up rather than build out - using the space above existing buildings to create new homes.

He went on to say that an empty plot, or the redevelopment of a derelict site is not always the only opportunity for new homes, and as set out in the housing White Paper, it is important that development uses the space that is available efficiently, and avoids building at low densities especially in areas of high demand such as London.

In the Written Ministerial Statement, the housing minister confirmed the government's intention to bring forward policy changes to support this objective. Allowing both residential and commercial premises to extend upwards, Javid stated that opportunities for planning where such extensions are consistent with the prevailing height and form of neighbouring properties and the overall street scene, are well-designed (including complying with any local design policies and standards), respect the privacy of neighbours and can maintain safe access and egress for occupiers, should be positively considered.

He did however highlight that policies and decisions should take into account national and local policies, as well as relevant legal requirements relating to the conservation of heritage assets, to ensure councils can continue to protect valued areas of open space and the character of residential neighbourhoods, and stop unwanted garden grabbing.

Commenting on Sajid Javid’s announcement, Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said:

“We fully welcome any move to increase housing stock – the market is in crisis with a severe lack of available properties, which is pushing prices up and pricing first-time-buyers (FTBs) out of the market. The fact that this will enable existing residential areas throughout the UK to expand is especially welcome, as it should increase stock in the areas which most need it, rather than being confined to more expensive urban areas.”

The Government will be consulting on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, including changes to incorporate building up to ensure effective use of land for current and future homeowners, with appropriate guidance being produced in due course.