Several factors have collided and caused the sweeping reforms to our planning system. Firstly and most importantly some areas just simply do not have enough homes, or have the wrong sorts of homes. Much of our elderly housing stock is a carbon nightmare. Changes in how we live and work means that we have many disused brownfield sites. Changes are afoot, will they affect your self build or home extension?

Sweeping changes fit for a changing world

The current Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the desperate need for green spaces. Many will agree that there is an intrinsic link between time spent in The Great Outdoors and our physical and mental wellbeing.

Let us not forget global warming and our current and future challenge to live in harmony with Mother Nature. To top it off, the planning process can often be time-consuming, confusing, cumbersome and generally frustrating. Did it need changing? In short, yes, and many will agree that the sweeping reforms are welcome and overdue. Time for change.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his newts and your home extension

On 30 June 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson lauded building as a path to the Covid-19 recovery. He was emphatic that we would “build better and build greener but we will also build faster”. Who can forget his “newt-counting delays”?

Shortly after, on the 6 August 2020 the “Planning for the Future white paper” was launched. The proposed changes included protecting green spaces, making sure new roads were tree-lined, using brownfield sites, shortening down the planning time for local housing, a fast-track system for beautiful buildings, zero-carbon new homes and an overhauled planning process.

Building home extensions within permitted development rights

By his own admission last year, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick described the planning process as “complex and slow”. I’m sure many of our readers will wholeheartedly share his feeling of frustration.

Homeowners in some cases have been able to circumnavigate planning permission for their self build or home extension by using Permitted Development Rights. Not all extensions fall into Permitted Development Rights, due to size, shape or location. Nevertheless, it was an option for some projects and a welcome one at that.

It is important to note that even if you don’t require planning permission, this does not mean that you do not need to involve building control. Can you imagine if Local Authorities were to allow homeowners and developers to build unchecked? We would have a health and safety nightmare on our hands. Always consult the experts when it comes to building methods, materials and compliance.

Extensions, home improvements and building in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Area

If you are lucky enough to own a home in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Belt, Conservation Area or National park you will probably still need to jump through the proverbial hoops when planning your self build or home extension. The same applies to Listed Buildings or homes with local covenants. However, on the most part the new reforms are intended to make your path to building simpler and faster.

The Planning Portal has a fantastic facility that you can explore to see if and what permissions you require. It really is a useful resource and well worth a visit. If in doubt, always consult the experts or perhaps contact your local planning department for advice. If you live in a listed or historic building, then your first port of call would be your local conservation officer.

Planning your new extension: let us guide you through the planning & building process

We are always delighted to be involved with our clients’ projects from the get-go. Using our expert team to navigate you through the critical path to a live project. Working alongside our clients from inception to completion and guiding them along the way is always such a rewarding journey.

Get in touch to discuss how we can take your dream and make it a reality.

Our expert builders at A. Mann Building Contractors are here to discuss your building project in Kent and Sussex. Please call us on

T: 0330 128 1021 or email: