More than 100 North Herts homeowners built extensions under 'no permission needed' rules

PUBLISHED: 12:02 09 June 2019

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news@thecomet.net

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More than 100 homeowners in North Herts have taken advantage of new laws allowing them to build bigger extensions without planning permission, new figures show.

Controversial temporary planning rules known as permitted development rights are now set to become permanent, following a government announcement in May.

The rules allow homeowners to build single-storey extensions of up to 8m across without a full planning application being considered by the council.

But, the Local Government Association said the initiative strips people of the ability to shape their communities and ensure quality homes are built.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that 180 extensions have been built in North Herts using the rights since April 2014, when figures were first published.

Permitted development rights doubled the limit for the depth of a single-storey rear extension when they were introduced in 2013 - from 4m to 8m for detached houses, and from 3m to 6m for other domestic properties.

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But after concerns were raised, a neighbour consultation scheme was introduced by the then government.

Homeowners now have to flag up the work they want to do with the council, which then informs the neighbours.

If they object, the council can decide whether to grant or block the proposed development, but if no concerns are raised, the work is given the green light without a full planning application.

Of the 186 proposals submitted in North Herts, 169 were waved straight through, 11 were granted after concerns were raised, and 6 were refused.

Martin Tett, LGA planning spokesman, said: "Permitted development rules are taking away the ability of local communities to shape the area they live in, and ensure homes are built to high standards with the necessary infrastructure in place.

"While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with homeowners, the planning process exists for a reason.

"We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out of its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local planning departments."

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