Upwards extension proposals may give property owners new opportunities

In July 2015 the Treasury released its Productivity Plan to help boost housing supply in the UK. The document contained a number of proposed planning reforms, including giving the Government the power to draft local plans, looking at planning for brownfield sites and creating high density developments around key transport hubs. A lot of discussion has gone into these ideas and the benefits they could offer.

One of the proposals is particularly interesting and could open up additional space for homes and offices in London. The reform would allow upward extensions of properties in the capital without planning permission, as long as they are only built up to the height of surrounding properties. The British Property Federation (BPF) offered their support to the idea earlier this month.

A limited number of additional storeys may be added to existing buildings in three different ways, according to the proposals. The first of these could be a permitted development right being introduced across London for adding up to two floors to a structure. The extension would have to be built up to the roofline of an adjoining property and would not be permitted to go higher.

The second option would be to introduce planning policies into the London Plan to support upward extensions for new homes. The Plan sets out a framework for development and would give people more options when it comes to extending buildings.

The third option would be to allow each Borough to make local development orders to grant planning permission. Each Council would be able to sign off on upwards extensions across the area, in specific locations or on certain types of property. This option would put the power in local hands and let people with in-depth knowledge of the area decide.

The BPF is in support of the proposals because they encourage innovation and efficient use of space with existing built properties. Introducing a new development right would benefit some areas more than others, but the potential for new homes and office spaces across the capital is very attractive.

Property owners in London should keep a close eye on the issue to see if they get granted new powers in the near future. If the proposals are accepted they may find themselves with an opportunity to add to their home. As specialists focusing on property investments in Havering and the rest of London, we can help you to navigate the new rules and regulations around this issue.