New planning proposals will make it easier for developers to build upwards on existing houses and flats in changes to be included in the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), allowing an extra two floors to be added to a property provided it was in keeping with the roofline of other buildings in the area while Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed the positon on heritage by saying that ‘the upward extensions will take into account national and local policies, as well as legal requirements, including relating to the conservation of heritage assets such as listed buildings and conservation areas.’
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
The Government is committed to ensuring the planning system supports the delivery of more homes where they are needed. The opportunity for new homes is not always an empty plot, or the redevelopment of a derelict site. As set out in the White Paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’, it is important that development uses the space that is available efficiently, and avoids building at low densities especially in areas of high demand such as London. 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 confirmed its intention to bring forward policy changes to support this objective, which this Written Ministerial Statement sets out.
Planning policies and decisions should respond positively to suitable opportunities to use the airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes. They should allow residential and commercial premises to extend upwards, where such extensions would be consistent with the prevailing height and form of neighbouring properties and the overall street scene, are well-designed (including complying with any local design policies and standards), respect the privacy of neighbours and can maintain safe access and egress for occupiers.
Policies and decisions on upwards extensions should take into account national and local policies, as well as relevant legal requirements, including relating to the conservation of heritage assets such as listed buildings and conservation areas. This will ensure councils can continue to protect valued areas of open space and the character of residential neighbourhoods, and stop unwanted garden grabbing.
The Government will be consulting on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, including changes to incorporate building up to ensure effective use of land for current and future homeowners. Appropriate guidance will be produced in due course.
Read the UK Gov press release
Planning Portal writes:
The changes are expected to make it easier to build upwards on existing blocks of flats and houses, as well as shops and offices.
Javid said: ‘The answer to building new homes isn’t always an empty plot, or developing on a derelict site. We need to be more creative and make more effective use of the space we already have available. That’s why we are looking to strengthen planning rules to encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs.’
An additional two levels could be added to a property, providing it was in keeping with roofline of other buildings in the area.
The government said the measure will help council protect ‘valuable open space’ in inner city areas, maintain the character of residential areas, safeguard people’s privacy and stop unwanted garden grabbing. Any changes must be in keeping with character of the local area.
This policy will included in the revised draft of the National Planning Policy Framework, which is expected soon.
Melanie Leech, chief executive at the British Property Federation, said: ‘If we’re going to successfully address the UK’s housing supply-demand imbalance, it’s critical that we find bold new ideas. Making it easier to add floors to a property, so that an under-used house, becomes several flats, is a good example of an initiative which should encourage local authorities to think creatively about solutions in their area.
‘Communities, however, will only accept development at greater density if local services and infrastructure can adequately support the growing population of a particular area. Inadequate planning or funding of school places, healthcare or leisure facilities will inevitably create animosity towards proposed development.’