Temporary rules, allowing homeowners to build single-storey rear extensions without submitting a full planning application, have been made permanent, the government has announced.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said the change meant homeowners could improve their properties without too much bureaucracy. He said: “These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape.”

More than 110,000 people have taken advantage of the temporary relaxed rules since they were introduced in 2013. The change allows terraced and semi-detached homes to be extended by 6m, and detached houses by up to 8m. It doubled the size limits on extensions without the need of planning permission, speeding up a process, which previously could have taken many months.

People wishing to extend their properties still need to inform the council and consult neighbours. Should concerns be raised, the council will look at the proposed project and may block the plans.

The government has also pledged changes to planning rules in response to pressure on the English high street, meaning shops can be converted into offices and public spaces more easily.

Martin Tett from the Local Government Association, which represents UK councils acknowledged that the change is popular with homeowners but expressed concern about its possible impact. He said: “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.”

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