Planning rules to be relaxed to boost economy

| September 6, 2012 | 0 Comments
Planning rules to be relaxed to boost economy

The government has outlined plans to boost Britain’s house building industry, including changes to planning regulations.

The current restrictions on extending homes and businesses will be relaxed for a three-year period.

This will allow detached homes to be extended by up to eight metres without the need for full planning permission, while all home owners will be able to extend their homes by 6 metres without planning permission.

The FirstBuy scheme will be given a £280m boost to help 16,500 people take their first step onto the property ladder.

The scheme gives potential house buyers an equity loan of up to 20 per cent of the purchase price of a property if they are unable to raise a deposit.

Labour has criticised the proposals, saying they do not address the problem of “lack of confidence and demand in the economy”.

The Local Government Association has also spoken out against the plans, saying that the idea that the planning system is hampering house-building is a myth.

Planning permission has already been granted for 400,000 properties which have not yet been built, it says.

Other proposals revealed today include £10bn of government guarantees to underwrite the construction of new homes and £300m funding to build 15,000 affordable homes and to bring 5,000 empty homes back into use.

Meanwhile new figures from the Halifax reveal a 0.4 per cent fall in house prices in August, compared with July.

On an annual basis, prices have fallen by 0.9 per cent with the average UK home now valued at £160,256.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax said: “A gradual upward trend in spending power, aided by lower inflation, should help to support housing demand in the coming months.

“Nonetheless, house prices are likely to remain flat over the remainder of 2012 and into next year.”

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