Scotland

Scottish government simplifies home improvement rules

Home under construction
Image caption The simpler planning rules will come into force in February 2012

New rules are to be introduced on home improvements which will mean many of them can go ahead without planning permission.

The Scottish government said the change will take about 4,000 applications out of the system each year.

Projects including extensions, access ramps, and garages will no longer need official approval.

Tighter restrictions will still apply to listed buildings and those in conservation areas.

Planning Minister Aileen Campbell has now laid regulations in parliament confirming the changes.

She said: "We are removing, in certain cases, the need for householders to get planning permission.

"That frees people up to go ahead and make improvements to their homes and saves them money, while creating jobs for building companies and trades people."

The new rules will come into force in February 2012.

Heads of Planning Scotland (Hops), which represents the country's directors of planning, has welcomed the change.

Chris Norman, of Hops, said: "They [the new rules] strike a balance between the need to protect the privacy of neighbours and the appearance of Scotland's housing stock, while giving greater opportunity for householders to carry out small-scale works to their home without the need for planning permission."

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