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Press release

1 MAY 2018

Lack of PDR regulation is producing low quality housing

New research report, published by RICS, highlights benefits, implications, and losses for public authorities and communities by extending permitted development rights.

With housing delivery high on the political agenda, reforming the efficiency of the planning system has been attractive to policymakers, with significant extensions of permitted development rights in 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2015.

However, building conversions are proceeding without full formal planning in England, impacting planning control.

Case studies

Five local authorities with high rates of permitted development schemes were examined from Camden, Croydon, Leeds, Leicester and Reading. Site visits to 568 buildings found an inconsistency in the quality of developments, with only 30% of units delivering through permitted development meeting national space standards. While examples of extremely high-quality housing conversions had been found, there were also examples that had no amenity space, low quality design and were poor locations for residential amenity.

The idea of reusing vacant office space as housing is a good one. The way this is currently governed as ‘permitted development’ in England is, however, highly problematic.

Dr Ben Clifford
UCL Bartlett School of Planning