Coming Soon: Significant changes to UK planning laws

3 July 2020

This week the government announced sweeping changes to UK planning rules which will come into effect in September.

Buildings will be permitted to change from commercial usage to residential without the need for planning permission. Furthermore, developers will be allowed to demolish existing vacant residential and commercial properties and construct new homes on the same site, without planning consent.

These ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ changes will also relax rules on brownfield developments, and private homeowners will be able extend outwards and upwards – assuming they get agreement from the neighbours.

The strategy will be welcomed by some within the sector who want to see the economy fast-track out of the COVID-19 lockdown, but considerable opposition is expected from the planning profession and the public.

Most estate agents and property developers have welcomed the measures, including the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s ambition to bounce back as we enter a new phase of this pandemic” commented NAEA Chief Executive Mark Hayward “The simplification of the planning process will ease the pressures caused on the supply of homes and ensure the property market drives the UK’s economic recovery.”

These changes are scheduled to go live in September. A more detailed policy paper will be released later in July, and our Property team will provide detailed commentary on the changes at that time.

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