In the areas of both residential and commercial property, our notions of what type of properties we need and how we use them are changing rapidly. Covid-19 highlighted trends that were already happening in society and increased the pace of change.
The Government is reforming the planning system with the aim of making it more responsive to people’s needs. The intention is for the rules and processes affecting building projects, alterations and change of use to be less restrictive and lengthy. It isn’t yet clear how proposed new regulations will work in practice.
Homes Are Becoming More Than a Place to Live
For many people, homes are becoming the place where they work as well as live. Intergenerational living is also on the increase. This is driven by the difficulty many younger people have getting on the housing ladder and the increasing number of older people needing care and support.
People are looking for more space. Extending existing homes can be a simpler option than finding exactly what you need on the open market.
The Future of Retail
In the commercial sector there are countless retail properties that threaten to be unoccupied for the foreseeable future. Since 2015 the number of retail units in the UK declined by over 7%. Nearly 8,000 were lost in the first half of 2020, following over 9,000 lost in 2019 (source: Financial Times).
The Government is responding by simplifying the process for changing the use of commercial properties. It also intends to expand the definition of permitted development for residential property so that, with certain conditions, adding a two-storey extension won’t need full planning permission.
Simplifying the process – even when new rules are implemented – won’t mean that ‘anything goes.’ Considerations such as loss of light or privacy, and noise and disturbance will still be relevant. Protections for listed buildings and conservation areas will still apply. Penalties for contravening or ignoring planning laws can be severe.
The Simplest Route to Planning Approval
Taking professional advice at the stage when you are starting to consider a project or change of use will prevent you from wasting time and money on schemes that are non-starters. Legal professionals that specialise in property law can also help you understand the process. They can map a way forward that has the best chance of success, in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of inconvenience.
The Powells Law Property and Planning Team can help you with all aspects of planning applications and appeals. If you are considering a project, it’s a wise investment to speak to us first. Contact us on 01934 623 501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.