Most people consider property development to be less than straight forward, especially with our current set of stringent development guidelines, the majority of which require permission from the Planning Minister, Senator Freddie Cohen, or his delegates.

However, the tide may be turning against the notion of "permission for everything", as Senator Cohen is due to increase the number of permitted developments which will not require an application.

While the minister continues to review the relevant legislation, planning permission will now not be required for at least the following development:

  • To convert your garage into a habitable space on the basis that the car parking space(s) are replaced
  • To carry out your long-awaited loft conversation for habitable use
  • To re-clad your roof
  • To extend an industrial or warehouse building by 10%

IFor those who are concerned that the new amendments will cause a 'free for all' in private development, the majority of the increases in the categories of development for which permission is not required will be coupled with strict conditions to prevent any detrimental neighbour impact. Plus, the changes are not intended to apply to both listed and proposed listed buildings.

Many will see the new revisions as a step in the right direction, but one must still be careful when carrying out development. It is suggested that independent legal advice is taken before considering projects where any uncertainty arises, as non-compliance with the law can result in criminal sanction.

The decision to increase the number of permitted developments is considered mutually beneficial for the Island, as it will allow the individual greater freedom to extend and improve their properties without becoming embroiled in timeconsuming applications, while also reducing the application burden on the planning department. The department estimates that the new amendments will cause approximately 400 applications per year to fall away.

Other changes mean that Islanders will now be allowed to install a bio-digester private sewage treatment system, where there is no risk of polluting the groundwater, instead of having to used tight tanks which can be expensive to maintain and operate. However, the installation of a sewage treatment system will require planning and building permission.

People will also be able to change the use of a building without requiring planning permission, such as converting a retail premises into an office. It is also anticipated that existing permitted developments will also receive a significant overhaul with size limits and scope of permitted work generally being increased.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.