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Planning permission no more? Richard Spector looks at calls to ‘build up, not out’

This week, Richard Spector, Managing Partner at real estate and litigation law firm ELS Legal, looks at news that the Government may revise the rules surrounding the height at which you can redevelop your property.

Under current building regulations, a homeowner who wishes to raise the roof of their building must seek planning permission – an often costly process that is fraught with complications.

But today’s news indicates that the Chancellor Philip Hammond will consider bending the rules in this November’s Autumn Budget.

According to reports, a group of housing associations have urged the Chancellor to allow developers to extend the height of properties without having to secure planning permission.

Under the so-called “build up not out” plan, developers would be able to increase the height of a building so it matched the tallest building in the vicinity, or the height of the surrounding trees.

The letter was authored by housing associations G15, Placeshapers, Midland Heart, Orbit, and Place for People.

“’Build up not out’ has the potential to substantially increase the supply of sites for development,” it said.

“We have the financial strength, the capability and the networks of local suppliers to be able to build greatly increased numbers of homes. Housing associations have an ambition to deliver.”

If the plans were to go ahead, it would relieve thousands of property developers from going through the onerous process of having their proposed builds passed through the ranks of local planning authorities.

And height has often been a contentious issue when it comes to developing both residential and commercial buildings.

Earlier this year, the council worker in charge of Bristol’s commercial property portfolio was told to pull down a roof extension after falling foul of property laws.

Councillors, neighbours, and planning inspectors complained after the property manager built a “huge” wood-panelled extension on top of his room without first seeking the appropriate planning permission.

The enforcing inspector described the roof extension as a ‘strident and bulky structure’ which was in ‘awkward and discordant contrast’ with the rest of the roofs in the terraced street.

About Richard Spector: Managing Partner Richard specialises in property transactions and commercial litigation. Richard has acted in a number of high-profile cases and was heavily involved in the litigation that arose from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Richard has been involved in a number of cross-border litigation cases and recently acted successfully for the Claimants in Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd & Anr v Wilkins Kennedy, listed in the Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016.

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Richard Spector

Richard is a Partner in the litigation department. Richard specialises in commercial litigation across a number of sectors and often involving international elements to the dispute. Richard has acted in a number of high profile cases and was heavily involved in the litigation that arose from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

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