More than 150 homeowners in Huntingdonshire have built extensions under ‘no permission needed’ planning rules

Homeowners are taking advantage of a change in planning regulations.

Homeowners are taking advantage of a change in planning regulations. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than 150 homeowners in Huntingdonshire have taken advantage of new laws allowing them to build bigger extensions without planning permission, new figures show.

Controversial temporary planning rules known as permitted development rights are now set to become permanent, following a Government announcement in May.

The rules allow homeowners to build single-storey extensions of up to eight metres across without a full planning application being considered by the council.

But the Local Government Association said the initiative strips people of the ability to shape their communities and ensure quality homes are built.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that 157 extensions have been built in Huntingdonshire using the rights since April 2014, when figures were first published.

Permitted development rights doubled the limit for the depth of a single-storey rear extension when they were introduced in 2013 - from 4m to 8m for detached houses, and from 3m to 6m for other domestic properties.

But after concerns were raised, a neighbour consultation scheme was introduced by the then Government.

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Homeowners now have to flag up the work they want to do with the council, which then informs the neighbours.

If they object, the council can decide whether to grant or block the proposed development, but if no concerns are raised, the work is given the green light without a full planning application.

Of the 175 proposals submitted in Huntingdonshire, none were waved straight through, 157 were granted after concerns were raised, and 18 were refused.

Martin Tett, LGA planning spokesman, said: "Permitted development rules are taking away the ability of local communities to shape the area they live in, and ensure homes are built to high standards with the necessary infrastructure in place.

"While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with homeowners, the planning process exists for a reason.

"We do not believe this right should be made permanent until an independent review is carried out of its impact, both on neighbouring residents and businesses, and also the capacity of local planning departments."

Across England, 127,747 domestic extensions have been put forward for approval since 2014 under permitted development.

Of these, 65 per cent were given the green light straight away, 18 per cent were granted after consideration, and 17 per cent were refused.

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP said: "These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.

"By making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move."