This week, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid announced the Government’s plan to amend current planning guidance laws in a bid to encourage councils to look more favourably on upward development in densely populated areas. As part of these reforms, the Government intends to make it easier for councils to approve extensions on homes, shops, and flats by an additional two storeys.
Mr Javid declared that the change in policy serves as a creative solution to the housing crisis, allowing investors and developers to effectively take advantage of space that is already available as opposed to building new homes or property developments. While the Government has previously encouraged the construction of new-build homes as a means of meeting annual housing targets, encouraging property extensions is vital in meeting market demand for properties in urban hotspots, such as London and Manchester.
This move by the Government will be welcomed news for UK investors. Last year, Market Financial Solutions’ (MFS) research showed that 60% of UK adults feel there are too many poorly built, unattractive new-builds popping up across the country. The same survey also revealed that 79% of UK adults think the Conservative Government needs to do more to encourage the refurbishment and renovation of existing properties, including ones sat empty, in order to meet future property demand.
Ultimately, the reforms unveiled this week will help contribute to housing supply and help alleviate current market demand for property. Nonetheless, changes to house planning laws need to form part of a longer-term housing strategy, ensuring that more people are able to jump onto and move up the property ladder, while also encouraging bricks and mortar investments.