Will planning rule changes destroy house prices?

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Changes to the planning rules which were proposed in July have caused their share of outrage. Campaigners have raised concerns over how they could damage the countryside and the UK's heritage.

This has won over a minority of people, and 100,000 have signed a campaign opposing the changes. However, the anti-planning movement may have hit on the one charge that could convert a huge number of homeowners into anti-planning campaigners: they have claimed it could destroy house prices.

The changes
The changes to planning rules are intended to make the business of getting planning permission easier. The idea is to simplify the process from 1,000 pages of rules to 52. It would also aim to make 'yes' the default answer - unless there was a very good reason not to grant permission.

The government has responded to concerns over the countryside and those worried about the UK's heritage by saying that permission wouldn't be granted where these things are at risk.

However, it's harder to defend the changes against the latest attack. The Planning Officers' Society responded to the consultation paper by saying they are worried that the new rules will damage house prices.

House prices
The society is made up of planning officers and managers on local councils. They argued that suddenly opening up swathes of land for development in an area would mean sporadic building, where large numbers of properties would suddenly appear in an area (not the one pictured). This would flood the market with homes and push down the price of houses locally. Anyone owning a home that is a decade or so old would see the most damage, as why would anyone own a dated nearly-new-build when they could own a brand new home?

It could also mean local amenities such as schools and hospitals could be put under incredible strain, because sudden growth would not allow for planned expansion of services, so they would immediately be over-subscribed and over-run.

The good news for anyone stressing over vacant land near their property and the threat to the value of their home, is that the government continues to consult on the draft proposals, and the experts are expecting considerable revisions next month.

So all we can do now is hold on and cross our fingers that the new rules don't destroy the value of our homes.
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