Relaxing permitted development rules on house extensions

Our urban areas have seen a loss of green garden space, where people have paved their front gardens to create car parking areas. Now, the Government proposes that householders could have much larger extensions without needing to apply for planning permission. Currently the average house can have a permitted development extension of three to four metres at the rear. But the Government in their proposals to ease planning restrictions have suggested that this could increase to eight metres.

This sounds like great news if you want a big extension in your garden, but less good news if your neighbour is allowed to build a large extension in their garden, and it means that you lose a lot of light or suffer from overlooking. The increase in hard landscaping also has another negative impact on us all, as it might lead to an increase in flooding, because of the reduction in areas where water can soak away.

We need to balance the planning system. It can at times seem to people as if the system is micro managed by bureaucrats, who want to always say 'no'. But we do need to protect and improve our urban environment, aiming to increase the quality of life for everyone. We need to have a system that allows people to change their properties without unnecessary interference, but we need to be careful that this increased freedom for one, does not lead to a reduction in quality of life for someone else.