Published On: Mon, Oct 27th, 2014

Fenestration sector benefits from the latest reforms to the planning system

lewisNew figures released recently show for the first time how efforts to reform the planning system and cut red tape have enabled thousands of homeowners to make improvements to their properties, and have got Britain building. Since last year, new permitted development rights have given people more power to extend their homes without having to apply for planning permission. The move was part of wider reforms to help create a swift and responsive planning system – a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan.

The figures show it’s working: in the 3 months to June, councils across the country received 7,700 applications for home extensions – 6,500 of which got the go-ahead without needing to go through the whole planning process. The figures also show how permitted development measures to enable redundant office buildings to be turned into new homes are also being taken up, with 1,900 applications received by councils in the last quarter and 900 approved during the same period.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The figures show how thousands of homeowners are now able to make improvements to their properties without having to negotiate excessive red tape and bureaucracy. On top of this, offices that once stood empty have been transformed to help deliver much-needed new homes for communities while maintaining green belt protections.”

The figures also show planning approvals at a 10-year high, with authorities granting 350,200 permissions in the year to June – 2% higher than in the previous year. Between April and June 2014, district level planning authorities in England received 123,200 applications for planning permission. This represents a decrease of 1% compared with the corresponding quarter in 2013. They granted 92,400 permissions, up 1% from the same quarter in 2013 and granted 89% of applications, unchanged from the same quarter of 2013. 79% of major applications were decided within 13 weeks or within the agreed time, up from 63% a year earlier. 4% more residential decisions were made than in the June quarter 2013. In the year ending June 2014, district level planning authorities granted 350,200 permissions, up 2% from the figure for the year to June 2013.