The Local Government Association (LGA) have stated that permitted development rights are “detrimental” to local communities and should be abandoned.
370 councils across England and Wales are represented by the LGA.
In research conducted by the LGA, it suggests that in the last 2 years, nearly 10% of new homes have been converted from an existing office.
This comes with no investment in affordable housing or infrastructure accompanying these adaptations.
LGA have implied that Permitted development rights have steered;
“to the potential loss of more than 7,500 desperately-needed affordable homes”.
Since 2015, 30,575 housing units have been converted from offices to flats in England, per statistics.
This is without having to go through the planning system.
Nationally, this figure amounts to roughly 8% of new homes, however in areas of the UK, it is accountable for roughly 67% of all new housing.
In a statement, the LGA said:
“Office to residential conversions under permitted development rules accounted for 73 per cent of new homes in Stevenage, 64 per cent in Three Rivers, and 61 per cent in Sutton during 2016/17. In Nottingham, Basildon, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Hounslow and Harlow the number was more than half.”
In the last two years, permitted development has guided the “potential loss” of 7,644 affordable homes, estimates the LGA.
The housing spokesman at the LGA, Martin Tett, understands the problem as two-fold.
The loss of office space when permitting developers to convert offices into flats, without providing affordable housing and local services, can;
“risk hampering local plans to grow economies and attract new businesses and jobs to high streets and town centres”.
The senior planner at DMH Stallard, Daniel Frisby, agreed with the broad thrust of the LGA’s argument, saying;
“As well as this policy having no provision for councils to require the delivery of affordable housing, it also fails to enforce appropriate minimum space standards. In our experience this leads to extremely poor living accommodation with some units being as small as 15 metres squared (less than half the standard advised floor space for one-bedroom flats).While the policy has been helpful to regenerate disused offices, the lack of control with respect of affordable housing and minimum space standards is a concern and could be easily rectified. These homes also put pressure on local infrastructure without the means to require development contributions to be made.”
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