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Permitted development rights to undergo further reform

The UK government will consult on introducing greater flexibility to the rules governing the conversion of buildings to residential use, including from warehouses and light-industry structures, Chancellor George Osborne has announced in today's Budget speech. 

The Treasury's Budget 2014 (120-page / 2MB PDF) sets out plans for a review of the existing General Permitted Development Order. It said that this would include the introduction of a three-tier system under which small scale changes can benefit from permitted development rights whilst development requiring consideration of specific issues will go through a prior approval process and large scale development will require planning permission.

Osborne announced a £150 million fund to help the regeneration of large housing estates through repayable loans. The Budget said that private sector developers will be invited to submit bids "shortly". The government will also work with the Greater London Authority on proposals for new homes in Barking and at Brent Cross.

Following on from Osborne's announcement earlier this week that a new garden city will be created in Ebbsfleet, the Budget announcement also revealed that the government will publish a prospectus by Easter to set out how local authorities can create their own, locally-led proposals for bringing forward new garden cities.

The Budget confirmed that the equity loan element of the Help to Buy scheme will be extended to March 2020, as announced earlier this week. The mortgage guarantee element of the scheme will end on 31 December 2016 as originally planned.

Other initiatives in the Budget included a £500m 'Builders Finance Fund' which will provide loans to developers to finish construction of 15,000 homes and a consultation on a 'Right to Build' under which custom builders could be given the right to a plot from councils as well as access to a £150m repayable fund.

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