The Committee's response to Government's consultation on permitted development rights for homeowners - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations


1.  We conclude that the impact assessment is inadequate and does not provide a sound basis justifying the proposed changes to permitted development rights for domestic extensions. (Paragraph 20)

2.  We regret that the Government has failed to address or evaluate the social and environmental arguments put forward against the proposed changes to permitted development rights for domestic extensions. Its approach has disregarded two of the components of sustainable development: the social and environmental impact. (Paragraph 22)

3.  If the change to permitted development rights is worth making, it should be permanent. If it is not, the change should not be made. The proposed changes need to be subject to a thorough and rigorous examination, which the consultation initiated on 12 November 2012 is not. Temporary changes can cause confusion and create uncertainty both at the inception of the change and in the period before its conclusion. Given the indication that the changes may be permanent, and that the Government would consider an extension less than doubling the current depth dimensions, we recommend that the Government complete a comprehensive assessment of the social, environmental and economic impact as well as a comprehensive economic assessment, and that it carry out a fresh and extensive consultation with a range of options for change should it decide to make a permanent alteration. (Paragraph 23)

4.  We conclude that the case for the changes the Government proposes to permitted development rights for domestic extensions has not been made. We therefore do not agree that in non-protected areas the maximum depth for single-storey rear extensions should be increased to eight metres for detached houses, and six metres for any other type of house. (Paragraph 24)

5.  If against our advice the Government should be determined to persist with change (and we consider that it should not) then a number of adjustments need to be made.

  • First, because of the potential impact on areas with a significant number of Houses in Multiple Occupation, there is a strong case for excluding them from the relaxation at least until a thorough impact assessment has been carried out.
  • Second, if the Article 4 mechanism is to provide a viable local exemption from permitted development rights, it will be necessary to remove payment of compensation and to allow local authorities to charge for planning applications falling within Article 4 in cases such as domestic extensions.
  • Third, we recommend that the Government carry out a full review of the impact of the changes at the end of the three year "trial". We recommend (a) that the review includes an independent study, including commissioned research on neighbour disputes and the impact on the quality, design and amenity of the permitted development and on the local area and (b) an invitation to interested parties to submit evidence and (c) that the outcome of the review be published. (Paragraph 25)

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Prepared 20 December 2012