Laura Sharman 24 March 2021

MPs launch inquiry into controversial permitted development rights

MPs launch inquiry into controversial permitted development rights image

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched a new inquiry to examine the Government’s approach to permitted development rights (PDRs).

PDRs allow for certain changes to be made to a building without the need to apply to the local authority for planning permission.

In recent years, the Government has expanded the use of PDRs. In 2020, they legislated to permit conversion between a much wider range of commercial and retail premises, and created new PDRs to allow unused office buildings to be converted into residential property.

The new legislation also gave homeowners the right to add additional stories to existing post-war homes.

Critics of PDRs argue that they undermine the ability of councils to focus on place making.

The inquiry will examine the impact that an expansion of the PDR system has had on the planning system and the Governments targets for new homes and economic growth.

It will also examine the impact of PDRs at a local level, including the ability of local authorities to plan development holistically, developer contributions and the provision of services to meet changing local needs.

The inquiry will also consider the further changes to permitted development outlined in the planning White Paper.

Launching the inquiry, chair of the committee, Clive Betts, said: ‘The Government has indicated its intention to use permitted development rights to allow greater flexibility in how buildings are used, removing the need for planning approval for switching use between offices, shops and housing under certain circumstances.

‘We have launched this inquiry to understand the implications of this approach. Does it provide sufficient scope for local authorities to set out a coherent plan that addresses local needs? How well does it support the Government’s broader goals for economic development and housing capacity? Fundamentally, do they enable the economic and societal recovery we need.’

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