A raft of measures granting new permitted development rights in England – including those for rear-of-house extensions – will come into force on 30 May.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the measures would ensure the very best use is made of empty and underused buildings, to provide much needed homes and businesses.
The measures include increasing the size of single-storey rear extensions which can be built under permitted development for a period of three years between 30 May 2013 and 30 May 2016. These larger extensions will be subject to a ‘light-touch’ neighbour consultation scheme.
Other measures will allow High Street premises to be used for new types of business without permission and existing agricultural buildings, under 500 sq m, will be able to be utilised for a range of new uses such as shops or offices, to provide more chances for rural businesses to diversify.
To create flexible accommodation for new and start-up businesses, and allow other businesses to adapt swiftly to changing conditions, buildings that are classed for use as retail, financial services, restaurants, pubs and hot food takeaways, offices, leisure and assembly uses can temporarily change to another use class. They can be used for retail, financial services, restaurants and cafes and offices for a single period of up to two years.
And in a move to assist the government’s free schools agenda, a series of measures will also facilitate the conversion of existing buildings to become new state-funded schools.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “There is huge untapped potential in the many disused existing buildings we have and we’re determined that every one of them is put to good use.
“By simplifying the process and relaxing some stringent rules we can provide a helping hand to those eager to boost their high streets or rural communities by cutting the time and costs needed to start up new businesses.
“These reforms will provide a boost to the exciting free schools programme. It will make it easier for parents and community activists to convert buildings into new schools.
“We’re also providing a great opportunity for outdated, redundant or underused offices to be brought back to life by converting them into homes, protecting the green belt and countryside at the same time. This will also increase footfall and provide knock-on benefits to the wider community.”
9 May 2013