I am deeply concerned that the Government is proposing to extend permitted development rights (PDR) and allow commercial buildings to be demolished and accommodation built in its place without going through the planning process.
When PDRs were first introduced they created a host of problems, for example, allowing the conversion of office blocks into housing without the Council being able to insist on an affordable housing element. It also meant a lot of longstanding music venues suddenly started receiving noise complaints after neighbouring buildings were converted into accommodation without needing planning permission. This new proposal takes PDRs one step further, by allowing demolition and rebuild too.
It’s incredibly important that house-building is supported. However, this can’t be at the expense of common sense rules which prevent inappropriate development, and we cannot allow developers to get out of building the social and affordable housing they should be expected to contribute. I am writing to the Secretary of State to share my concerns and I hope that the Government will reconsider its plans.