Going up and out in ‘Your Waverley.’

Government to expand permitted development rights to make it…

“easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards”


The government will expand permitted development (PD) rights to make it easier to create new housing and for “homeowners to build upwards and outwards” and is considering whether design codes should apply to some of the rights, the levelling down secretary and the prime minister have announced. 

According to a statement issued by the Department for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on Sunday night, the government will introduce “new flexibilities” to allow “shops, takeaways, and betting shops” to be converted into homes to help “rejuvenate the high street”.

WW. How exactly does that help rejuvenate the high street when there are no shops, takeaways, betting shops etc, God only knows!

 It will also “cut red tape” to “enable barns conversions and the repurposing of agricultural buildings and disused warehouses”.

 Further “freedoms” to “extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation”. At the same time, a review into the extension of PD rights “will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards – with new extensions and loft conversions – whilst ensuring neighbours’ interests are protected”.

WW – “How exactly will the Government protect neighbours’ interests?:

The government will also “launch a consultation on new permitted development rights, to provide more certainty over some types of development, and how design codes might apply to certain rights to protect local character and give developers greater confidence. 

New and amended PD rights, it went on to say, “would make it easier to convert larger department stores, space above shops and office space” and would involve “changes to support farm diversification and development, to allow businesses to extend and more outdoor markets to be held”. 

The consultation sets out various changes to existing PD rights and proposes new ones.

Another consultation will take place in the autumn outlining measures on “how to support existing homeowners better to extend their homes.”

It claims: “Densification, done the right way, will transform the opportunities available to people across the country – our inner cities have much lower population densities than comparable Western countries, impacting our productivity.”

The government will “continue to ensure that local removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 Directions will only be agreed where there is evidence of wholly unacceptable impacts”, it said.

But Shaun Davies, chair of the Local Government Association, said in a statement:

“There is no doubt that we need more homes as well as to reinvigorate our high streets and town centres. However, premises such as offices, barns, and shops are not always suitable for housing.

“Further expanding permitted development rights risks creating poor quality residential environments that negatively impact people’s health and wellbeing, as well as a lack of affordable housing or suitable infrastructure. 

“It is disappointing that the government has ignored its own commissioned research that concluded that homes converted through a planning application process deliver higher quality homes than those converted via permitted development rights.

He maintains only homes delivered through the planning system 

“will ensure 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.”

Victoria Du Croz, head of planning and partner at law firm Forsters, said new PD rights are “unlikely to boost housing numbers to the levels that are needed”, and housing is needed “alongside job creation, space for warehousing and retail and leisure strategy.

DLUHC is already consulting on its plans to introduce two new PD rights to convert persistently vacant high street properties.

Meanwhile, the new’ class MA’ PD right, effective August 2021, allows the conversion of commercial, business, and service uses to residential without needing a full planning application. 

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