Homeowners should be able to expand houses by building another storey, ministers are told – iNews

Posted By on December 30, 2021

Homeowners should be able to expand their houses by building an extra storey on top, according to a new paper from a think-tank run by the Governments building design czar.

Allowing the residents of individual streets and neighbourhoods to draw up a design code for extensions could promote denser cities, limiting increases in house prices, without runaway development which existing homeowners tend to oppose, according to Create Streets.

The proposed policy is based on South Tottenham, an area of north London with many Hasidic Jewish residents who tend to have large families but do not want to leave the community in search of more space.

The local council agreed that homeowners could build new storeys as long as they fit with a strict design code which means they fit in with the existing Victorian look of the neighbourhood, using similar building materials as the original homes.

The average extension costs 100,000 but increases the value of the property by as much as 300,000, so they can be highly profitable for those who do not need more space themselves.

Create Streets said: There are lessons for other neighbourhoods with Victorian or Edwardian housing stock, a shortage of appropriate housing, and relatively high land values: street-by-street intensification can be a valuable way to deliver extra floor space needed for growing families in high-demand areas; local consent is crucial for a successful and lasting local housing settlement; visual form-based codes are normally far better than vague statements of policy such as appropriate and contextual.

The think-tank is run by Nicholas Boys Smith, head of the Governments Office for Place and former chairman of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which aimed to drive up support for greater development by improving the aesthetic quality of new housing.

Former Cabinet minister Rory Stewart has backed the Create Streets proposals, saying: If we can get the framework right, there may be ways to enable such sympathetic improvements and extensions across other neighbourhoods in England, helping many other growing families with the space they need.

Done well, it will bring environmental and carbon benefits. It will allow us to provide housing and affordable housing in a way that is sensitive to communities, our built heritage, our landscape and our streets. It is a model that can transform not only London, but cities across the United Kingdom.

Michael Gove is currently drawing up a replacement for the planning reforms which were tabled by his predecessor Robert Jenrick but abandoned over Conservatives fears they would allow a development free-for-all across the south of England.

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Homeowners should be able to expand houses by building another storey, ministers are told - iNews

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