The Government has announced plans to extend permitted development rules to allow developers to convert commercial buildings into homes without planning permission.
Speaking at the Tory conference yesterday, housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘I’m announcing new freedoms, including to build upward so that your home can grow as your family does too.
‘Reducing conditions, speeding up consent. Better funded local planning in return for efficient service. The beginning of a planning revolution.’
However, council leaders warned the plans would prevent them from ensuring new homes are affordable and supported by the correct infrastructure.
The Local Government Association’s planning spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said: ‘Permitted development rules take away the ability of local communities to shape the area they live in, ensure homes are well-designed with the necessary infrastructure in place and have resulted in the potential loss of thousands of affordable homes, as developers are not required to provide any affordable housing.
‘Limiting the application of planning rules also goes against the Government’s commitment to implement the recommendations in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report into building safety.’
Mr Jenrick also announced plans to help millions of housing association tenants to buy a share of their home, and pledged that all new homes will be required to have low carbon heating from 2025.
He also unveiled plans for a new national design guide for new developments to ensure a ‘firmer vision for better designed homes’.
‘This new design guide will have real clout,’ he said. ‘There will be a national standard for local authorities to adhere to, but we recognise that what good likes like differs across England.
‘So, for the first-time local authorities will be expected to design their own locally applicable guides in keeping with the national standard, which must deliver the quality of homes that we expect.’