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LGA and Shelter call for independent review of permitted development rights.

The Local Government Association and Shelter have called for an independent review of the impacts of permitted development rights allowing change of use into residential homes.

In an open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the two organisations claimed permitted development rights had caused extensive problems.

“Therefore, we consider that the current proposals to allow for demolition of existing buildings and replacement with new residential ones, and for upwards extensions to existing buildings for new homes through a permitted development right, should not be pursued,” the LGA and Shelter said.

“We call on the government to instead focus on delivering the affordable, high quality homes that people want and need through the local planning process. This would support the government’s own ambitions to improve the quality of homes and places, as outlined in the terms of reference of the ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful’ commission launched in November.”

The letter said that 7% of new homes had been provided in the last three years through developers exercising the right to convert office space into residential homes.

“Unfortunately, because they are exempt from the full local planning process, they come forward with minimal scrutiny and outside of local authority control,” the LGA and Shelter said.

“These homes are also delivered without making any contribution towards affordable housing, which other forms of developments are required to do. This means that we are losing out on thousands of affordable homes which would be delivered if these homes went through the planning system.”

Both organisations have calculated that more than 10,000 affordable homes have potentially been lost in the last three years.

Earlier this month the Law Society gave a lukewarm response in its submission to the consultation on extending permitted development rights further.

The number of homes likely to be produced through such a proposed extension would be inconsequential in meeting demand for housing, its Planning and Environmental Law Committee said.