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Should Wales follow suit and relax planning permission?

September 28, 2012

The UK government has announced plans to relax legislation on the expansion of homes and businesses to kick-start the stuttering economy. They are of the belief that complexities and delays in the planning system are stunting economic development and the building of new homes.

With the new changes in place, homeowners will only require full planning permission when seeking to build a conservatory or extend their house by over six or eight metres. Businesses will also be able to expand shops by over 100 square metres or their industrial units by 200 square metres.

The plans are supported by the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing who said that they “welcome the Government’s intention of making planning guidance simpler and more user-friendly”.

Currently, these changes only affect those in England. The question is whether the Welsh Government should introduce similar reforms to planning laws?

Research commissioned by the Welsh Government suggests that 14,000 new homes are required in Wales every year for the next 15 years. They say the demand has risen because of the increase in the number of overall households, especially one-bedroom households. There has also been a rise in the population of Wales and an increased number of second homes purchased.

In June, the Welsh Government suggested that there was a common belief that, in order to gain planning permission, it was often a case of ‘who you know’ and ‘money talks’. Far from a positive assessment of the system.

On this basis it would seem that introducing new legislation should be a necessity, and would save headaches for homeowners and business proprietors alike.

However, conservationists have warned that rural towns and villages may be forced to accept new building developments and that we risk losing parts of our countryside.

People are also worried that the new right to expand homes will result in too many large extensions, some of which may lack the style that more high-end conservatories can bring.

The Welsh Government is set to debate this issue soon and with the prospect of more relaxed planning guidelines, we could soon be seeing many more people developing their homes to their full potential.

Hopefully this will help us come closer to a resolution to the housing crisis in Wales.

Please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts…

Picturesque locations such as Aberaeron could be at risk under new plans

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