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Strutt & Parker says more neighbour disputes are likely to occur due to relaxation in planning rules14th September 2012

Last week the government announced it is to relax certain planning rules and restrictions in a bid to inject some life into the housing market. Homeowners will be allowed to build single-story extensions that stretch up to 8m beyond their property's rear wall with more ease as the government cut the official planning procedures, said Jane Henshaw, head of Building Consultancy at Strutt & Parker.

The government hopes that by substantially reducing the amount of paperwork required to build the most common extensions such as a conservatory, loft extension or garage conversion they can revive the property industry and help kick-start growth across the rest of the economy.

Henshaw said: "Local contractors who specialise in smaller jobs will receive a huge boost from this news. I'm sure it will have a positive effect on local businesses as home owners can get a builder in quickly, start talking, and begin the work much sooner without the delay of form-filling and red-tape. However, some home owners are concerned about an increase in unsightly blots on the landscape as households won't need the permission to build when the current procedures are axed."

The new rules do not apply universally - those who are in conservation areas, listed buildings or national parks will still have to go through the same processes as before. The change is one of a series of growth announcements expected from the government and will come into effect within weeks as papers get pushed through parliament to put the guarantees in place.

"There are likely to be more neighbourly disputes as building works disrupt views and noise levels increase. I always advise people to weigh up all options before deciding to extend - it may be more cost-effective to move to a bigger house rather than altering your current home. If you do decide to expand, it is still important to run your proposals past the planning officer at your local planning department, and the Party Wall Act concerning giving notice to neighbours still applies."

In addition to relaxing the rules on home improvements there will also be an extension of the FirstBuy scheme to encourage new homeowners, with funding for another 16,500 new homeowners, providing new buyers with a loan of up to 20 per cent of their new property's value.

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