The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has called on the government to “rethink” government proposals to extend permitted development rights, which allow more premises to bypass normal planning procedures and be turned into homes.
It warned that the proposals could alienate communities by allowing inappropriate development to be “foisted” on them, while not making any contribution to local infrastructure. It also expressed concerns over quality and safety standards.
They were some of a number of concerns the CIC set out in its response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consultation entitled ‘Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure’.
The CIC’s points echo warnings from both the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects, which have warned that the rapid conversion of offices into homes could have damaging consequences and has already led to a decline in standards in England since permitted development rights were established in 2013.
Professor Tony Crook, chair of the CIC housing panel and emeritus professor of town & regional planning at the University of Sheffield, said: “This whole area will need more clarity. Space, quality standards and safety are all areas of concern to us, as is the fact that permitted development does not allow the knitting together of the necessary infrastructure.
“At a time when local resources are stretched, and will become even more so as councils count the cost of the pandemic, we see no reason why permitted development should be an exception to the principle of delivering sufficient infrastructure alongside new housing.”