Thousands of homeowners have been given the green light to extend their properties without planning permission.
A change in the law will allow families in England to build six-metre single-storey rear extensions if they live in a terraced house and eight-metre ones if their home is detached.
More than 110,000 extensions have been completed since the measures were brought in on a temporary basis in 2014.
Now the Government has made them permanent thousands of couples across the country will be able improve their existing home if they plan to have more children instead of being forced to find somewhere bigger.
A change in the law will allow families in England to build six-metre single-storey rear extensions if they live in a terraced house and eight-metre ones if their home is detached
It also means shops can be converted into office space or libraries and town halls without applying for full planning permission.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said restrictive planning rules have been axed, to help business owners respond quickly to changing trends on the high street.
Housing Minister Kit Malthouse 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.’
More than 110,000 extensions have been completed since the measures were brought in on a temporary basis in 2014 (file image)
Councillor Martin Tett, Local Government Association planning spokesman, said: ‘While we recognise building extensions under permitted development has been popular with home owners, 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.’
‘The current process also means councils have limited opportunity to consider the impact of such extensions on the local area, because they don’t go through the full planning process.’
Eugene Kim, managing director of Extension Architecture, told Architects Journal the new rule would help to improve the speed at which projects are built, adding that simple applications can still take 14 weeks to process.
Housing Minister Kit Malthouse said: ‘These measures will help families extend their properties without battling through time-consuming red tape (file image)
He said: ‘We find around 70 per cent of clients are oblivious to the fact that a simple planning process usually takes three to four weeks to prepare and two weeks to validate. Then eight or more weeks for the LPA to make a decision.’
A full application for a new single dwelling in England currently costs £462, and an application for an extension costs £206. In Wales, the typical householder application cost is currently £190.
Since April 2008, local planning departments all use the same application form, known as 1APP, which can be completed online.
The new planning permission rules
Rights allowing larger home extensions have been made permanent, following their introduction in 2013.
Homeowners can now make plans to extend their homes without full planning application, but extensions must still adhere to building regulations and health and safety standards.
The new rules mean homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes, or eight metres for detached homes.
Larger single-storey rear extensions under the right cannot exceed 4m in height.
There is currently no fee but a Government spokesperson said they will bring in an ‘appropriate fee’ later in 2019.
Fees are charged for pre-application advice, and ‘further small sums’ are payable for discharging planning conditions that must be met before development starts.
Previously, full planning applications had to be submitted to local councils for extensions, and the process could take months.
The new rules do not apply to homes in protected areas, such as conservation areas and national parks.
There is currently no fee but a Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government spokesperson told MailOnline they ‘will introduce an appropriate fee later in the year’.
The spokesperson added that £206 is the cost of a planning application to extend a home, but this does not apply to the householder permitted development rights for which there is no fee.
When asked about how long will the new process take, the spokesperson said: ‘We are not introducing a new process, but are making permanent the temporary right introduced in 2013 for larger householder extensions.
‘A full householder planning application is a non-major application which local authorities are required to determine within eight weeks.
‘Under this permitted development right the local authority is required to have responded within six weeks.’
They added that larger single-storey rear extensions under the right cannot exceed 4m in height.