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Javid urges developers to build up, not out

Developers should build up instead of out, Sajid Javid has announced.

The housing, communities and local government secretary said: “The opportunity for new homes is not always an empty plot, or the redevelopment of a derelict site.”

He explained that, as set out in the White Paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market,’ it is important that space is used as efficiently as possible and that developers avoid building at low densities - particularly in areas of high demand, such as London.

Javid added: “The government recognises that one of the ways to achieve this is to build up rather than build out, using the space above existing buildings to create new homes.”

Alongside the White Paper, the government also confirmed that it intended to bring forward policy changes to support this objective.

Javid added that planning policies and decisions should “respond positively to use the airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes.”

He explained that where it would be consistent with the height and form of the neighbourhood, residential and commercial properties should be permitted to extend upwards, so long as they are well designed, respect the privacy of neighbours and can maintain safe access for occupiers.

Javid also added that policies and decisions on upward extensions should consider national and local policies and relevant legal requirements, such as the conservation of heritage assets, which he says will ensure the continued protection areas of open space and stop “garden grabbing.”

The government is to consult on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, including changes incorporating building up, and guidance will be issued in the near future.

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