Telegraph: Extending homes upwards about to get a whole lot easier

Developers and home owners in built-up areas will be allowed to extend the height of properties without planning permission under plans expected to be announced by Theresa May.

The Prime Minister is expected to use a speech on housing tomorrow to announce proposals to give local authorities the power to grant a general approval to build ­upwards by up to two additional floors, to match the height of neighbouring buildings.

Mrs May is also likely to step up the pressure on councils to release more land for the construction of homes, and urge developers to deliver on existing plans to build, following an earlier warning that “there are lots of planning permissions out there, I want to see the houses being built.”

The announcement on upward extensions will be welcomed by senior Conservatives who privately suggested the plan last year only to see a heavily scaled-back version announced by the Government last month.

An MP involved in discussions about the policy said they expected the ­announcement tomorrow of a “move towards changing permitted development” – the scheme under which parliament grants a general planning permission for certain types of work.

Last month Sajid Javid, the Housing Secretary, announced plans to amend planning guidance to encourage councils to look favourably on upward development in densely populated areas.

But The Sunday Telegraph disclosed that several former ministers were concerned that the plan was not “bold” enough. John Penrose, a former architecture minister, Nick Boles, a former planning minister, and Mark Prisk, a former housing minister, wrote to Mr Javid urging the Government to go further. Mr Javid and Dominic Raab, the Housing Minister, are understood to have supported a push to extend permitted development.

The plan, initially put forward by Mr Penrose last year, would have meant that a home owner could extend the height of a building to match that of the tallest building in its block or the height of mature local trees, without a formal planning process.

Under the plans announced last month, home owners would have to follow the usual process, but the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be updated to encourage councils to look favourably on applications for upward extensions.

A new NPPF due to be unveiled tomorrow is expected to include a new provision on upward extensions, but Mrs May is expected to announce a separate consultation on introducing permitted development for building up in certain circumstances.

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