Planning bodies response to MHCLG PDR consultation: ‘… full and proper public consultation and engagement’ needed

logoThe Consultation Institute has updated on how planning bodies have submitted strong objections to government proposals to further relax permitted development (PD) rights – including changes to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and redeveloped as housing – with the Planning Officers’ Society arguing the move would ‘undermine the confidence of the public in the planning system’.

The Consultation Institute writes:

As part of a suite of announcements in October’s Budget, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published a consultation, Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes, which set out a series of fresh proposed changes to the planning system. Among its proposals, the document sought views on the creation of a new PD right ‘allowing for the demolition of commercial buildings and redevelopment as residential’.

… The consultation, which closed yesterday (14 January), further sought views on a new PD right to allow property owners to extend their buildings upwards. This was announced at the Conservative Party Conference by housing secretary James Brokenshire.

In addition, the government sought views on extending and making permanent two time-limited PD rights – one introduced in 2015 allowing the change of use from storage or distribution to residential; and the second from 2013 allowing larger extensions to houses.

In its response to the consultation, local authority body POS said it ‘strongly objects’ to the demolition PD right proposal. The response said the demolition and replacement of buildings ‘should be the subject of full and proper public consultation and engagement as expected for pre-application advice and planning applications – reducing public consultation through using permitted development rights would undermine the confidence of the public in the planning system and cause confusion as to which route a developer is using and what the different policy positions apply’.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and Town and Country and Planning Association (TCPA) also submitted strong objections to the proposal.

All three bodies also strongly objected to the proposed upwards extension PD right…

The RTPI said it had “no objection in principle to buildings being extended upwards, but think these measures will only make a very limited contribution to increasing housing supply, which needs to be weighed up against the long term impact that introducing permitted development will have in terms of quality of design and amenity for people around the sites”.

On the proposal to create a new PD right allowing easier conversion of high street premises to offices, the RTPI said that ‘a blanket PD right will mean un-planned changes to ground floor primary shopping frontages which could detrimentally affect… high streets…’.

POS also objected, saying that ‘withdrawing planning controls and letting the market decide is not the answer’. The TCPA said that it was ‘firmly opposed to the further extension of [PD rights]’…

Read more….

For other objectors (including the IHBC) see the IHBC NewsBlog

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