Home owners in cities in the UK where there is a shortage of family housing could get planning permission to build upwards provided the change is in keeping with the location’s rooflines.
The British Government will change planning policy to make it easier to build upwards on existing buildings, including flats, houses, shops and offices in cities like London and Manchester to ease pressure on valuable open spaces and help growing families.
For example, an additional two levels could be added to a property provided it was in keeping with the roofline of other buildings in the area and the development remains in keeping with the character of the local area, including the preservation of listed buildings and conservation areas.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said it will ensure councils can protect valuable open space in inner city areas, maintain the character of residential areas, safeguard people’s privacy and stop unwanted garden grabbing.
‘The answer to building new homes isn’t always an empty plot, or developing on a derelict site. We need to be more creative and make more effective use of the space we already have available,’ he explained.
‘That’s why we are looking to strengthen planning rules to encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs,’ he pointed out.
Javid added that the move is regarded as part of the Government’s drive to provide more housing and the policy will be included in the revised draft National Planning Policy Framework, which is due for consultation in early 2018.
According to Apex Airspace, a company that specialises in building on rooftops, single storey extensions could result in more than 180,000 new homes could be built on top of rooftops in London alone, with 60,000 above council house and housing association homes.
Apex research also shows that the value of the airspace, the real estate above rooftops, in London is worth £20 billion, which is owned by individuals, organisations, and businesses. If the new planning proposal is accepted, up to 360,000 homes could be built.
‘We have lobbied and campaigned for two years for a relaxation of planning regulations so we welcome this announcement. We have built down, across and up and now we must build on our existing housing stock and make use of airspace above flats, houses, shops and offices,’ said Arshad Bhatti, chief executive officer of Apex Airspace.
‘Our research shows a potential to build 180,000 homes above London with just a single storey rooftop extension. Some 60,000 of these apartments could be built on council and housing association homes, which would also mean more affordable housing for essential service personnel,’ he pointed out.
‘The way to deal with the housing crisis is a new generation of rooftop townhouses, but manufactured in a factory. The modular construction is then shipped to its location and placed on the rooftop, often in less than a day, which minimises road closures and disruption to residents,’ he added.