New planning rules aimed at revitalising town centres will come into force in September, the government announced today - but the wholesale reform of planning law promised by the prime minister last month will not emerge until later this summer. 

In a much-trailed move, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government today laid three separate statutory instruments amending the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 before parliament. 

According to a ministerial statement, the new rules, which will come into effect by September, will mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes. Homeowners will also be able to add up to two additional storeys to their home to create new homes or more living space through a fast track approval process, with a requirement to carefully consider the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension.

Robert Jenrick MP, the housing secretary, said: 'We are reforming the planning system and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy to give small business owners the freedom they need to adapt and evolve, and to renew our town centres with new enterprises and more housing. These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities.'

The announcement also said that: 'This month the government will set out plans to reform England's seven-decade old planning system to deliver more high-quality, well-designed homes, and beautiful and greener communities for people to live in. Cutting out bureaucracy to get Britain building, while protecting high standards.'

In a speech last month, the prime minister promised to cut what he described as 'newt-counting red tape'.