Homeowners missing out on new planning powers, says Shropshire property expert

New powers for householders to build extensions and conservatories without the need for planning permission are not being used because many people are unaware of them, a Shropshire property expert said today.

The Government recently changed planning regulations so single-storey extensions and conservatories can now be double the size they were allowed to be previously without needing planning permission.

Extensions and conservatories can now extend up to eight metres from a detached property rather than four metres, or up to six metres rather than three for a semi-detached or terrace.

The new rules came into effect in May 2013, and are only in place for three years, so homeowners looking to extend are being advised to get thinking about it now.

Gavin Jones, of Shire Conservatories in Shrewsbury, said: “A lot of people are unaware of these new rules which can make the whole process of building an extension or installing a conservatory much quicker and easier.

“There are various conditions you need to meet, such as the conservatory being at the rear of the property, but overall the planning restrictions have been relaxed to make it easier for people to improve their home.

“If your conservatory extends less than four metres from your detached house (or three metres for a semi-detached or terrace) you don’t need any sort of permission. If it’s up to eight metres (or six metres for a semi-detached or terrace) you just need to consult your neighbours, and as long as no-one objects you’re good to go.

“The whole process can now be done and dusted in three weeks when it used to take months.”

Mr Jones said the new regulations were good news for anyone looking to extend their property, and customers were often surprised at how quickly the paperwork could be completed.

“Planning permission is a bit of a minefield and tended to put people off in the past,” he said. “But these new rules certainly take a lot of the hassle out of improving your property by adding an extra room.”

Mr Jones said trends were starting to change when it came to conservatories too, with homeowners being given much more to choose from than the traditional conservatory.

He said: “We have installed conservatories of all shapes and sizes, and we can design them to fit in with the style of house and what the customer wants. Garden rooms and orangeries are becoming increasingly popular to be used as multi-purpose rooms rather than the simple conservatories of the past.

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