Full planning permission no longer required for unused buildings

Full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings from September in new laws laid out by the UK Parliament.

The new laws hope to deliver new homes and revitalise town centres across England, and enable high streets and town centres to provide more space for new businesses to help them to adapt quickly to hat consumers and businesses need.

Homeowners will also be able to add up to two additional storeys to their home to create new homes or more living space for growing families through a fast track approval process, with a requirement to consider the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension. This hopes to reduce pressure to build on greenfield sites and deliver more homes that fit the character of their local area, without the red tape.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP 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. It will mean that families can add up to two storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows.”

Pubs, libraries, village shops and other buildings essential to communities will not be covered by these flexibilities.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has said that councils will need to take the temporary impact of COVID-19 into account when considering permission for change of use, redevelopment or demolition of these buildings, and this will not change due to the new laws introduced.