Local authority leaders have called for an end to permitted development rights to ensure that all conversions and new developments contribute to the delivery of affordable homes.
Since 2015, a total of 73,575 new houses have been converted from offices under permitted development rights (PDRs), where full planning permission is not required.
PDRs allow developers to circumvent the local planning authority, which means they can get around having to deliver affordable housing.
According to the Local Government Association (LGA), more than 18,000 affordable houses have been lost as a result of office-to-residential conversions under permitted development.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, Cllr David Renard, housing spokesperson for the LGA, has said that the Government needs to remove PDRs if affordable housing is to be delivered.
‘There is a need for more affordable housing across the country but regrettably premises such as offices, agricultural buildings, shops, restaurants and light industry can now be converted into houses without the need to provide any affordable homes,’ he said.
‘This is why we would like to see the permitted development rights removed. Giving planning powers back to councils will also support local ambitions to revive and reimagine high streets and town centres. The upcoming Queen’s Speech should also give councils further powers to bring vacant properties back into use.
‘A local, plan-led system is crucial in delivering on levelling up ambitions to ensure councils can deliver the right types of homes in the right places with appropriate infrastructure, ensuring a mix of high-quality affordable housing that meets the needs of local communities, while also giving those communities the opportunity to shape and define the area they live in.’