Plans to simplify home extension

Plans to Simplify Home Extension and Loft Conversion to Address Housing Shortage.

Michael Gove is poised to reveal proposals aimed at addressing the housing crisis, emphasizing on home extensions and converting shops into residential properties.

Plans to simplify home extension
15/09/2021. London, United Kingdom. Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Michael Gove. 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

As the Housing Secretary prepares to announce these plans on Monday, he stressed that new regulations would be formulated to grant more flexibility in carrying out property extensions and loft conversions.

The intention behind these new measures is to provide families with the opportunity to extend their homes while safeguarding the interests of their neighbors.

The proposed flexibilities also extend to the transformation of retail spaces such as shops, takeaways, and betting shops into residential units. Gove argues that this approach will encourage the better utilization of existing buildings rather than promoting urban sprawl, and it is specifically designed to rejuvenate high streets and increase housing density in inner cities.

Labour’s shadow housing secretary, Lisa Nandy, criticized the announcement, deeming it inadequate in tackling the housing shortage issue.

In his address on reforming national permitted development rights in London, Mr. Gove is expected to unveil additional plans, including cutting red tape to facilitate barn conversions and repurposing agricultural buildings.

He highlighted the need for more homes in strategic locations, particularly in inner cities, to preserve the countryside while making better use of empty shops and offices to meet the pressing demand for housing.

To kick-start a “21st-century renaissance for our great cities,” Gove also intends to create development corporations, inspired by the successful regeneration of east London by the Docklands Development Corporation in the 1980s. These corporations will be empowered to use compulsory purchase orders to acquire land and sell portions of it to developers for constructing new homes.

The announcement comes shortly after a cross-party panel of MPs warned that achieving the target of 300,000 new homes per year was doubtful after the Conservative government downgraded the target’s status from mandatory to advisory.

In response to Gove’s proposals, Ms. Nandy stated that bold action was needed to tackle the housing crisis and criticized the reliance on reviews and press releases. She presented Labour’s own plans, which involve reforming the planning system, restoring housing targets, and implementing changes to compulsory purchase rules to support builders in addressing the housing shortage.