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Planning reforms announced to extend buildings upwards by up to two storeys

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, announced at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday that Local Planning Authorities will be able to raise application fees in order to accelerate decision-making. There may also be an automatic rebate to applicants where deadlines are missed by councils.

He went on to set out greater freedoms via the new “permission in principle” mechanism to extend buildings upwards by up to two storeys and to replace commercial buildings with housing. However, he also criticised the Permitted Development rights that have allowed offices to be converted to residential, which he said had often produced poor quality housing.

Jenrick said that the Government is exploring the potential to “dramatically” reduce the number of conditions on planning consents, particularly those that apply at the pre-commencement stage and pledged that further “significant planning reforms” to accelerate the delivery of new housing are in the pipeline.

In associated announcements, the Secretary of State published a new housing design guide introducing a national standard for local authorities to adhere to and said that the Government would introduce a shared ownership right for housing association tenants to get more people on the housing ladder.

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