Planning Minister Nick Boles said that for a limited time, red tape will be slashed and unnecessary rules and bureaucracy will be removed in order to make the system more efficient.

He said the majority of planning applications are uncontroversial. Nearly 90% of requests are approved every year but the process takes up a lot of time and money.

The Government has published a consultation paper on proposals to make it quicker, easier and cheaper to build small-scale single-storey extensions and conservatories by extending permitted development rights.

The proposals are expected to help up to 40,000 homeowners make straightforward improvements. They will save £150 on planning application fees along with many indirect savings on transaction costs such as professional fees, production of scaled drawings a
nd time spent compiling and presenting information.

The estimated total savings on the planning application process is up to £2,470, depending on the level of information required to support the application.

Mr Boles says that safeguards will remain to ensure any impact on neighbours and communities is kept to an acceptable level. A Government statement says: “The new rights will not apply in protected areas such as national parks, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest and do not remove the requirement for separate listed building consent.

“Permitted development only covers the planning aspects of development and does not remove requirements under other regimes, such as building regulations, the Party Wall Act or environmental legislation.”

Larger and more controversial improvements will still need to be considered through the planning system.

Mr Boles said: “Homeowners and bu
sinesses must be allowed to meet their aspirations for improving their homes and premises but this won’t be at the expense of neighbours, communities and protected areas.”

Some legal commentators fear that despite the Government’s best intentions, the relaxation of regulations could lead to a rise in the number of neighbour disputes in the future.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, including development issues and neighbour disputes.

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