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Planning relaxation ‘liberalisation’ – Boles

The relaxation of planning rules on home extensions could be extended beyond the proposed temporary three-year period, a minister has suggested.

Last month, a consultation was launched on easing planning regulations for home extensions of up to 8 metres. A limit is currently imposed on 3 or 4 metre extensions. The Government states that the relaxation is necessary to boost the construction industry.

Planning applications for extensions cost around £2,000 on average, which can put people off adding value to their homes. However, many campaigners have criticised the plans, arguing that planning permission is necessary for homeowners to make large extensions.

During questions from the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, minister Nick Boles told MPs that extending the scheme would not lead to a “free-for-all”.

He said: “This Government thinks the way to support growth is to cut regulation in order to encourage entrepreneurial activity. We want to encourage people to do these extensions in the next three years because the construction industry is having a miserable time. We want to support them.

“If, at the end of three years, it's become completely acceptable... and everybody is happy with it, then we may continue and keep it in place. We are looking at having it for three years [so that] it will stimulate activity.

“Is it really such an appalling thing to take an extension on a terraced house from three metres to six, when it's single-storey and it cannot use up more than half a garden?

“I think it's a liberalisation. That's what we intend. We came into power to do things like that. I don't see it as a crime against humanity.”

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