The Government has unveiled plans for a consultation that would revise planning policy to make it easier to build upwards on existing buildings.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said a consultation draft of the revised National Planning Policy Framework will be published early this year and will include “building up” policy alongside others to make efficient use of land and buildings, and building at higher densities.
Under the changes, it would be made easier to build upwards on existing blocks of flats and houses as well as shops and offices.
An additional two levels could be added to a property – provided it was in keeping with the roofline of other buildings in the area, Javid said.
The proposals, he said, 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.
Javid said: “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.
“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.”
Commenting on the proposals, Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said it could help boost supply and bring down prices for first-time buyers.
He said: “We fully welcome any move to increase housing stock – the market is in crisis with a severe lack of available properties, which is pushing prices up and pricing first-time-buyers out of the market.
“The fact that this will enable existing residential areas throughout the UK to expand is especially welcome, as it should increase stock in the areas which most need it, rather than being confined to more expensive urban areas.”