Airspace Developments & Vertical Extensions transforming Town Centres

Expert advice from our in-house planner Alex

Central Government ran a consultation entitled ‘Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes’. Part of the consultation related to the introduction of new permitted development rights to provide new homes by extending existing buildings upwards. It would include a prior approval process through the relevant local authority.

The potential for ‘airspace permitted development’ which allows for vertical extensions is considered by Scroxton & Partners to be a positive step. It will maximise the use of town centre land and the better use of existing buildings, creating the ability to concentrate a larger proportion of residential properties in urban areas, which could help to ease development pressure on the open countryside for new housing.

The Government considered how to limit the proposed permitted development with one limit being a maximum of 5 stories in total which would include the existing building. However it also looked at the possibility of extending existing blocks of flats further which indicates it would be more than 5.

Our current thinking is that it would allow for a maximum of 5 storeys in town centre and urban locations. Another consideration is limiting development to the ‘prevailing height’ in an area which will be difficult to define and the subject of much consternation with Authorities and a final consideration has been to limiting height to the highest part of an existing terrace should a building sit in such a scenario.

Anticipating concerns over design quality, the consultation suggested that local design codes could be introduced which would set standards for proposals to follows. We have noted that there is no reference to requiring confirmation of the ability of a particular building to accommodate additional storeys structurally but we would advise this is investigated at the initial stages to inform feasibility and build cost implications.

Scroxton & Partners have the knowledge and experience to work with you to realise your plans for vertical extensions whether it be through permitted development proposals in the future, or through schemes that can be brought forward today.

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