Laura Sharman 27 November 2018

Permitted development rules are exacerbating affordable housing crisis, councils warn

Government rules to allow developers to convert offices into housing without planning permission has led to communities missing out on 10,000 affordable homes in the past three years, council leaders have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said permitted development rules are exacerbating the nation’s housing affordability crisis and should be scrapped.

Figures show that since 2015, 42,130 housing units in England have been converted from offices to flats without having to go through the planning system. The LGA said this has led to the potential loss of 10,500 affordable homes in the past three years.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA housing spokesman, said: ‘Permitted development rules are taking away the ability of local communities to shape the area they live in, ensures homes are built to high standards with the necessary infrastructure in place and have resulted in the potential loss of thousands of desperately-needed affordable homes.

‘The loss of office space is also leaving businesses and start-ups without any premises in which to base themselves. Extending permitted development rules risks exacerbating these problems.’

A survey of councils in England also showed that around nine out of 10 councils were concerned about the quality, design and location of such housing.

Six out of ten also said they were concerned about the demand being placed on health and social care services and school place planning as a result of homes being built through permitted development rules.

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