New planning policy will make it easier to build homes on rooftops

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed government backing for schemes to build upwards on existing blocks of flats, houses, shops and offices in cities around the UK. An additional two levels could be added to a property provided it was in keeping with the roofline of other buildings in the area. The policy will be included in the revised draft National Planning Policy Framework, due for consultation early this year.

"The answer to building new homes isn’t always an empty plot, or developing on a derelict site," he said. "We need to be more creative and make more effective use of the space we already have available. That’s why we are looking to strengthen planning rules to encourage developers to be more innovative and look at opportunities to build upwards where possible when delivering the homes the country needs."

Apex Airspace, which specialises in building on rooftops and has been lobbying for years for this kind of development, estimates that around 200,000 new homes could built this way in London, a third above council house/housing association homes.
Image: Didden Village, Rotterdam, a rooftop house complex from MVRDV