Homeowners will be able to use fast-track planning process to add two storeys to their property.
New laws laid in Parliament yesterday will deliver much-needed new homes and revitalise town centres across England, according to Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick.
The new rules, which will come into effect by September, mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes, and that commercial and retail properties can be quickly repurposed to help revive high streets and town centres.
Homeowners will also be able to add up to two additional storeys to their property through a fast track approval process, with a requirement to carefully consider the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.
MHCLG says this will reduce pressure to build on greenfield sites and deliver more homes that fit the character of their local area, without the red tape.
This month the government will set out plans to reform England’s 7-decade old planning system.
Robert Jenrick said:
“We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing.
“These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities.
“It will mean that families can add up to 2 storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows.”
Pubs, libraries, village shops and other buildings essential to communities will not be covered by these flexibilities, recognising these form part of the fabric of areas.
The paper argues that the decline of traditional high street shopping is inevitable, meaning ministers should focus less on slowing that decline than on supporting new and more beneficial uses for town-centre sites.
A major programme of converting retail units for residential use could allow the creation of 800,000 new homes, the SMF report calculates.
Many of those homes should be built by local councils and other public bodies in a major expansion of social housing, the paper says, and Central government should write off tens of billions of pounds of local councils’ debt to support that programme.
The SMF report, entitled A New Life for the High Street, argues that the coronavirus crisis will accelerate pre-existing trends including a shift away from shopping in urban centres.
As more and more workers spend at least some of their working week working at home, footfall in town centres will decline and more retailers will collapse.
Instead of trying to arrest the inevitable decline of high-street retailers with promises to “save the high street”, the SMF says that national and local politicians should deploy radical new measures to stimulate new life in urban centres and support unemployed retail staff.
Ref: EYE CORRESPONDENT