Home improvements up, as planning freedoms take effect

New figures show planning reform and cut red tape have enabled thousands of homeowners to make improvements, and have got Britain building.

New figures 2 October 2014 show for the first time how efforts to reform the planning system and cut red tape have enabled thousands of homeowners to make improvements to their properties, and have got Britain building.

Since last year, new permitted development rights have given people more power to extend their homes without having to apply for planning permission.

The move was part of wider reforms to help create a swift and responsive planning system – a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan.

Today’s figures show it’s working: in the 3 months to June, councils across the country received 7,700 applications for home extensions – 6,500 of which got the go-ahead without needing to go through the whole planning process.

The figures also show how permitted development measures to enable redundant office buildings to be turned into new homes are also being taken up, with 1,900 applications received by councils in the last quarter and 900 approved during the same period.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“Today’s figures show how thousands of homeowners are now able to make improvements to their properties without having to negotiate excessive red tape and bureaucracy. On top of this, offices that once stood empty have been transformed to help deliver much-needed new homes for communities while maintaining green belt protections.”

“All this is part of our wider planning reforms, which have helped put power back in the hands of councils and communities to have a real say over how their area is developed – meaning planning approvals are now at a 10-year high.”

Approvals reach 10-year high

The move to increase permitted development rights has helped deliver new homes while at the same time protecting the green belt – and has freed up planning officers to process more planning applications for larger schemes.

Today’s figures also show planning approvals at a 10-year high, with authorities granting 350,200 permissions in the year to June – 2% higher than in the previous year.