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Builders merchants to benefit from planning changes

Thanks to changes to planning permission legislation, builders merchants could find themselves selling more building materials for home extensions and driveways.

Builders merchants to benefit from planning changes

From October most homeowners won’t need to get planning permission for an extension, nor for paving over their front gardens, as long as they use permeable surfaces.

The changes will allow people to build both up and out for the first time without needing to pay to up to £1000 to be granted specific planning permission. As a result, a quarter of all householder applications – some 80,000 a year – will be removed from the planning system, potentially saving the nation up to £50m.

Larger more intrusive extensions will still require permission.

Housing and Planning Minister Caroline Flint said: “The new rules will cut out planning permission for about 80,000 households a year and crucially save as much as £1000 in some cases – making home improvement an increasingly attractive option.

“Often people grow out of the family home, but now those who don’t really want to move will find it easier to improve instead.”

The regulations have also been changed for driveways, in order to reduce the flood risks caused by surface water run-off. New driveways or parking areas over 5sq m will not need planning permission if they use permeable solutions.

Some 55,000 of the homes hit by last year’s floods were affected by surface water run-off, causing £3bn of damage.

By giving only permeable surfacing automatic permission homeowners will be encouraged to consider the impact of their surface water drainage much more carefully and to ensure the effects of that run off reduces the likelihood of neighbourhood flooding.

Surface water can be drained using permeable surfaces such as concrete block paving with gaps, specialist permeable driveway solutions, porous asphalt or gravel, wheel track only paving or through installation of ‘soak-away’ systems.

Flint added: “Many homes also need better protection against flooding which is why the changes will promote permeable surfaces for driveways that allow surface water drainage – a major factor in recent floods.”

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About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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