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Planning reforms deliver home improvements boost

There has been a rise in the number of people making home improvements following the introduction of new planning freedoms, the government has announced.According to the latest figures, in the three months to June councils across the country received 7,700 applications for home extensions - 6,500 of which got the go-ahead without needing to go through the whole planning process.People have had more freedom to extend their homes without needing to apply for planning permission since permitted development rights were introduced last year.They were brought in by the government to help create a swift and responsive planning system as part of its long-term economic plan.Permitted development measures are also helping to transform redundant office buildings into new homes. Some 1,900 applications were received by councils in the last quarter and 900 were approved during the same period.Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: "[These] figures show how thousands of homeowners are now able to make improvements to their properties without having to negotiate excessive red tape and bureaucracy. "On top of this, offices that once stood empty have been transformed to help deliver much-needed new homes for communities while maintaining green belt protections."Permitted development rights have helped to deliver new homes while protecting the greenbelt, while planning officers have been given the opportunity to process more planning applications for larger schemes.Planning approvals are currently at a ten-year high, with 350,200 permissions granted in the year to June. This represents a two per cent rise on the previous year's figure.Earlier in the year, Mr Lewis hailed the government's planning reforms for changing people's attitudes to new developments and putting an end to Nimbyism.His remarks came after the publication of the British Social Attitudes survey, which revealed  support for new residential properties increased from 28 per cent in 2010 to 47 per cent in 2013, while opposition to new developments fell from 46 per cent to 31 per cent during the same period. 

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