Upwards Development: Further Government encouragement for new homes and adding storeys to existing houses and flats

3 minute read
12 August 2020



This insight was published prior to the Building Safety Act receiving Royal Assent on 28 April 2022. As such, whilst accurate at the time of publication, its contents may have been superseded by the changes implemented by the Act or its related secondary legislation.

You can find a list of all Gowling WLG articles relating to the Building Safety Act here.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (the MHCLG) has issued a circular letter (03/2020) which:

  • provides additional information further to the introduction of new permitted development rights to extend buildings upwards by adding additional storeys on existing buildings; and
  • highlights the publication of the Manual to the Building Regulations (the Manual).

The Government has issued a circular letter which has been sent to recipients that include the Chief Executive of Borough Councils, the Head of Building Control and Planning Inspectors and is intended to encourage the provision of new homes and also to draw attention to the Manual which was published in July 2020.

An enhanced Manual has been reinstated in accordance with one of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt. There is in addition a PDF of all Approved Documents that is described by the MHCLG as "fully searchable".

This further encouragement from the MHCLG follows the recent announcement that new planning rules are to come into effect in September 2020 extending permitted development for re-purposing buildings and meaning that full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes. In addition, the process for getting approval to add up to 2 additional storeys to homes will be simplified with a new fast track process for homeowners.

In addition, attention is drawn to compliance with Building Regulations where this re-purposing involves adding additional storeys which means that building will then be either 18 metres or more in height or more than six storeys tall. Those seeking permission will need to bear in mind the more stringent rules that will soon apply following enactment of the draft Building Safety Bill (see our report).

If you have any queries, please contact Sue Ryan.

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