The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced what the Government described as one of “the most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War”.
In a post-Coronavirus world, Mr Johnson wants to make it easier to build better homes where people want to live and has also promised that work will begin to look at how land owned by the government can be managed more effectively.
New rules for the construction industry
On 30 June 2020, new regulations were announced that will give greater freedom for buildings and land in UK town centres. This means that builders will be able to change use without planning permission and create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.
The Government hopes that the new rules will kick start the construction industry and speed up rebuilding.
Under the Government’s new rules, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily. On the Government website it states:
“A building used for retail, for instance, would be able to be permanently used as a café or office without requiring a planning application and local authority approval. Pubs, libraries, village shops and other types of uses essential to the lifeblood of communities will not be covered by these flexibilities.”
The full list of changes includes:
- More types of commercial premises having total flexibility to be repurposed through reform of the Use Classes Order.
- A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application.
- Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.
- Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.
The Government has announced that these changes are planned to come into effect by September.
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