Simplified home improvement rules introduced

Bricklayer at work
Image caption Restrictions have been removed from projects such as extensions, sheds and garages

New regulations have come into force to make it easier for Scots to make changes to their homes.

The move means many home improvements will be able to go ahead without planning permission.

Projects including extensions, sheds and garages will not need official approval under the new rules, which were laid in parliament in October.

But some restrictions will still apply for conservation areas and listed buildings.

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

Planning Minister Derek Mackay said: "These changes allow people to improve their homes more easily and save them money, while creating jobs for building companies and trades people.

'Right balance'

"We consulted extensively before introducing these changes and I am confident they strike the right balance between cutting red tape to help householders and protecting privacy and the appearance of Scotland's buildings.

"They also complement the work we have already undertaken to make it easier for householders to install small scale renewables technologies."

The Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland welcomed the changes.

Convener Bob Reid said: "These new rules will make it easier for people to make changes to their homes, with the right safeguards for neighbours and for conservation areas and listed buildings.

"This should allow planning authorities to focus their attention on more complex developments often with larger impact, which in turn should help to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning system."

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