Housing secretary announces expansion of permitted development system

Politics / Tue 25th Jul 2023 at 09:19am

IN a speech on Monday, housing secretary Michael Gove announced an expansion of Permitted Development Rights (PDR) to convert shops, takeaway restaurants and betting shops into homes, which he hopes will help rejuvenate the high street reports UK Housing.

Meanwhile, planning restrictions will be eased to enable barn conversions and the repurposing of agricultural buildings and disused warehouses into housing. 

However, Samantha Stewart, interim chief executive at the Nationwide Foundation, raised concern about the quality of homes built under PDR previously, and asked how the housing secretary could ensure build standards did not drop under its planned expansion.

She said: “Regarding permitted development rights and their expansion, can I ask that you don’t replicate the slums and the places that we cannot call homes that have been created over the last decade or so?”

Mr Gove replied that “we do need to learn the lessons from some of the developments that have emerged” where poor-quality homes had been built under PDR in the past. 

He added: “I do take your point about PDR, but I do think a more flexible approach towards use classes are a really good thing in terms of unlocking supply.”

In 2020, a government-commissioned report found that PDR often resulted in poor-quality homes that failed to meet space standards.

In response, ministers made a number of changes to the rules governing PDR, including ensuring that the converted homes were held to the same space standard as other developments.

However, in response to Mr Gove’s latest announcement, other campaigners and councils have also warned that the extension of PDR would result in poor-quality housing – as has been the case since the powers were introduced in 2013. 

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Converting takeaways and shops into homes and restricting building to city centres won’t help. It could risk creating poor-quality, unsafe homes that cause more harm than good.”

Shaun Davies, chair of the Local Government Association, said: “There is no doubt that we need more homes as well as to reinvigorate our high streets and town centres. However, premises such as offices, barns and shops are not always suitable for housing.

“Further expanding permitted development rights risks creating poor-quality residential environments that negatively impact people’s health and well-being, as well as a lack of affordable housing or suitable infrastructure.”

After rattling through a number of previously announced spending commitments, Mr Gove revealed new funding for brownfield developments.

He said: “And this week, a further £1bn will be launched to make brownfield land fit for development in our cities and towns. In addition, the new Infrastructure Levy which we are legislating for will further incentivise that brownfield development.

“Developers aiming to build on greenfield sites will have to pay more to provide for the new affordable housing and the infrastructure necessary in areas where there just aren’t the roads, the GP surgeries, the schools and shops already in place.

“By contrast, in urban areas, where that infrastructure already exists, and indeed in London, where school roles are fully in the heart of the city, densification and growth can ensure existing public services thrive and remain sustainable. 

“And to make it cheaper for developers to deliver more affordable housing, more schools and hospitals, where it is right for the community, our Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will eliminate the hope value that landowners and property speculators try to extract from any site.”

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14 Comments for Housing secretary announces expansion of permitted development system:

2023-07-25 10:46:08

Will be interesting to see where Robert Halfon stands on this, he was all for permitted development. Then against it, is he now for it again now his party want to extend it. How many more terminus houses does it need to show this is a bad idea.

2023-07-25 12:36:17

How on earth will turning everything into houses rejuvenate harlow or anywhere? Harlow will have absolutely nothing in it apart from homes,people and cars/vans. Lol.what a joke.

Donna Richardson
2023-07-25 13:11:47

Harlow Town has become a dump and is in a severe mess! There is nothing but to much outrageous traffic houses being built everywhere and nothing to do in the town also not enough hospitals or doctors or dentists to cater for so many people all the roads are full of dangerous holes that have damaged my car tyres three times now costing £200 a tyre each time to replace the town is over crowded and its a filthy place now its sad to sew what greedy politicians and council have done to once a beautiful town all about the money!!!!!

2023-07-25 13:21:20

Are these places going to be fit for people and families to live in? Currently you have too many people sharing a room in there. Convert them to housing, but do it properly with the right amenities for the tenants. Children shouldn't be sharing these overcrowded places let alone adults

2023-07-25 14:42:13

To true Donna Richardson. I coukdn't agree more with everything you have said. Its such a shame what our town has now become.

2023-07-25 15:51:49

Which buildings will they be turning into GP Surgeries, Dentists, Schools, Hospitals & so on? How much additional public transport will be provided? What will they do to manage the additional road traffic? You can't just keep adding people into existing towns without doing all of this, or life becomes unpleasant for everyone.

2023-07-25 16:26:45

Is that going to be good for my town? In a word NO!

David Forman
2023-07-25 17:32:22

Perhaps flip-flopper Robert Halfon MP can tell us whether proper space standards and community facilities will be enforced in the new permitted development housing projects?

Kim Oconnor
2023-07-25 18:02:41

The only thing that will help thousands and thousands of people waiting on homes , is to build council, social housing.... not unaffordable housing estates..... this proves that all theses deals have been for profit..and not a thought has gone into helping people... deals all signed and sealed,, and now they want to build on brown field.. Even if you use shut down shops and restaurants, and relax laws on extention s,,, it's not going to be enough..is it... to little to late from these councils.

2023-07-25 18:31:30

All well and good but we need Infrastructure as well.

Luke Burton
2023-07-25 18:35:54

No thanks. I want to live in a proper house with a garden - not some rabbit hutch converted from an office block that still looks like an office block because the developers want maximum profit. Also, who wants to live in a town centre riddled with crime?

2023-07-25 18:43:58

I wish we didnt need anymore houses,infrastructure,coz this means yet more people,yet more cars and less and less nature and less and less bloody space to just walk and be free,lol.Bloody hell,as humans we need open spaces where we can just go and walk or sit and just be in a nice quite space outside amongst the lovely wildlife and nature away from it all,but forget that lol, in years to come future generations will only know what grass trees and wildlife looks like,by looking at pictures. We are far to overpopulated and already way to many new builds havr gone up and many many more to come. We are living closer and closer to eachother and waiting times for anything is obviously just going to get so much worse.The future is going to be standing in queues for a lot longer,waiting on the phone for a doc/ nurse appointment a lot longer," you are number 50 in the queue and we know you are waiting" lol.The future looks very stressful. I have to laugh sorry people.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-07-26 07:17:12

We have all seen the consequences of allowing office blocks to be converted in to flat blocks and yet the Tories seem intent in repeating history by extending permitted development rights. Such conversions rarely provide homes which people would choose to live in.

2023-07-26 08:36:41

Recent news of 2 converted office blocks in Ipswich just go to prove a point.Develpment companies have returned them to housing and they are worthless because of fire regulations were not adhered to.

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