Telford & Wrekin Council has extended permitted development rights for homeowners looking to extend or alter their property with the introduction of a wide-ranging Local Development Order.

The authority has widened the scope of its LDO to include the addition of porches, thermal cladding and dropped kerbs, as well as single storey, first floor and two storey rear or side extensions.

Applications under the LDO will be administered by the newly-launched apT Group, which is the Midlands’ first in-house commercial development, planning, and environmental consultancy operating in the public sector.

As well as working with developers, residential homebuilders, and individual home owners, apT will also be selling its services to clients outside Telford and in other local authority areas including Shropshire, Cheshire and the wider West Midlands.

The LDO was introduced to simplify and speed up the development process so projects that meet specific criteria don’t have to apply for planning permission.

Homeowners or agents will be able to apply for a Certificate of Compliance, which can be submitted with a building regulations application, effectively making one application rather than two.

For developments that meet the criteria, certificates could be issued within two weeks rather than the usual eight-week timeline of a planning application. Restrictions apply for properties that are listed or that are within the World Heritage Site or a conservation area.

Valerie Hulme, development manager for apT, said the LDO would revolutionise the planning process for a large proportion of property owners in the borough.

“The LDO is one of the most progressive in place in the UK as it goes further than many others by including dropped kerbs and thermal cladding to the remit alongside extensions.

“The majority of people will be able to take advantage of these new streamlined regulations and put their home improvement plans into action far quicker than they would have been able to do previously.

“We believe the LDO will give a shot in the arm to small scale home and property improvements. With the simplified process and quicker timescale it will encourage more local residents and property owners to make the changes they want.”

apT provides development consultancy to everyone from householders through to large international companies, along with small to large-scale residential and commercial developers, land agents and everything in-between.

It also offers more specialist consultancy for built heritage conservation, urban design, ecological conservation, strategic housing and strategic recreational specialists.

For more information, go to www.apt-group.co.uk.