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Forget the Council, let local homeowners decide

The Growth and Infrastructure Bill which contains the controversial measures to extend permitted development rights to allow single-storey extensions of up to eight metres, has been given royal assent.

Earlier this week, an amendment to the legislation that requires neighbours to be consulted on home extensions that do not require planning permission was approved by the House of Commons.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, championing homeowners and those who aspire to own, said:

“Although we support the government’s desire to make it easier and cheaper for homeowners to build small – scale extensions, we want to make sure this is not a builders’ charter. There must be protection for neighbours from ugly, overbearing extensions.

Local homeowners and neighbours should have a say and be able to override any national changes. Granting an opt-out is one way to do this, but only if this is will of the local community and not just the Council unhappy at their powers being eroded.”

She continued: “We are not convinced these changes will do much to promote growth and bring extra work for local construction companies. If the government is serious about encouraging homeowners to improve their home and kick-start the construction industry, they should seriously consider bringing the 20% rate of VAT on building extensions into line with the 5% rate for new homes.

The Isle of Man trialled a reduced rate reviewed its impact and then successfully negotiated with the Treasury to make the reduced rate permanent. If it’s good enough for the Isle of Man it should be good enough for the rest of the UK.”



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