The Government has introduced new laws to come into effect by September that will essentially relax many current planning rules.
For property investors, these new regulations will bring opportunities to redevelop properties, change their usage or demolish to replace with new homes.
ADDING STORIES TO PROPERTIES
A significant change is that property owners will now be able to build additional space above their properties without the need for a planning application.
A fast track approval process will allow up to two additional storeys to be added to a property. However, the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension will need to be taken into consideration.
CHANGING PROPERTY USAGE
Other major changes to planning rules are based upon making use of existing properties by changing their usage or demolishing them.
THE GOVERNMENT’S WEBSITE HAS STATED THAT THESE CHANGES INCLUDE:
- More types of commercial premises having total flexibility to be repurposed through reform of the Use Classes Order. 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.
- 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.
It’s hoped that this relaxation of rules will help town centres to rejuvenate and allow more new homes to be built as premises can be converted quickly and easily.
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said, “We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing. These changes will help transform boarded-up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities.”
OPPORTUNITIES FOR LANDLORDS
For landlords, this opens up the opportunity to switch usage of under-performing properties. They’ll also be able to evict non-paying tenants who don’t pay up after the end of September.
This gives the landlord or property owner the chance to convert their property into a retail outlet, office, or work with a developer to release the potential of the land.
NEW BROWNFIELD SITES FOR DEVELOPMENT
With housing still desperately needed, the new rules will allow brownfield sites and unoccupied premises to be developed – avoiding the need to encroach on green spaces.
There’s also a feeling that the declining high street should be repurposed and used for housing in communities where the need is great.
The Social Market Foundation published a report that argues the decline of high street shopping is inevitable. Therefore, rather than trying to stop that decline, we should focus on creating new beneficial developments in these sites.
The report estimates a significant programme of conversion that would transform retail units into residential properties could see the creation of 800,000 new homes.
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