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planning reform consultationCivic Voice, a charity which acts as an umbrella body for civic societies in England, is currently preparing to respond to a government consultation on proposed changes to planning law in England.  It is seeking the views of its member civic societies and, apparently, of members of the general public.  It fears that the proposals might undermine the character of an area and impact on public participation in the planning system

The government consultation, entitled Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes, runs until 11.45 on 14th January.  It is described as a

"Consultation on a package of measures to provide greater planning certainty to support the high street and ensure that we can deliver new homes in the right places, and without delay"

and contains

"proposals that will allow greater change of use to support high streets to adapt and diversify, support extending existing buildings upwards to create additional homes, and speed up the delivery of new homes."

In a press release about the consultation, Civic Voice say that

"The main proposal within this document is to both extend and create additional many Permitted Development Rights (the granting of planning consent without the usual requirements, including consultation). The civic movement is concerned about how any changes to Permitted Development Rights undermine the character of an area and impact on public participation in the planning system."

A tweet from Civic Voice posted on 8th December says that

"In our view, the future of the high street needs to be one of a shared vision set out by the community and council partners etc. This policy, if introduced will undermine the future of high streets when government is again thinking about their future!"

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4292 13 Dec 2018 09:24
Oh great, organised NIMBYism. Because that's what we need, more brakes and obstruction to growth, recovery and development. Let's stick with all the empty over-supplied shops and hideously expensive under supplied housing.....
Jane Maggs's Avatar
Jane Maggs posted a reply #4308 18 Dec 2018 12:19
This is not about NIMBYism, it is more about BIMBY (Beauty In My Back Yard). Permitted development means no planning control by the local council or any opportunity for the council or community to determine whether a development is appropriate to the area, is in keeping or even of good design. This means that control of our neighbourhood is passed from the community to the developer, who may or may not have any interest other than financial.

When a developer obtains planning permission, they have to make a contribution to the council to offset costs around streets, doctors and schools. With permitted development they make no contribution, so can keep all that money as profit and still charge a high rent.

It is clear that more housing is needed, but everyone should be entitled to an appropriate, secure and well built home.

So in Southgate, many of the office blocks have been converted into housing under permitted development. These buildings were built as offices not housing and are not subject to the same housing rules as new build. We can see that some of the developments are high quality, which is welcome, but some look to be far less suitable, particularly for the families being housed there.

Clearly, we do not want empty shops or office space, but what we do need is to be sure any conversions are appropriate, well built and do not negatively impact the rest of the town centre and community.

This is about who controls our local environment – the community and elected representatives or the developers. This is about people who are desperate for a home not having to put up with badly built ugly homes.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4309 18 Dec 2018 14:39
BIMBY or BANANA? Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.

Great for keeping everyone's property prices inflated though! <<thumbsup>>

Have you read the full consultation document? I have, now, and responded positively almost across the board.

So the NIMBYs and BANANAs will preside over lots of vacant shops and redundant offices until 1001 tiny details are all satisfied whilst any prospect of an area prospering slowly washes away.

If developers could build whatever fits the Local Plan then PDR wouldn't be much of an issue. But as private individuals have a perverse level of control over the direction of development PDR is needed to bridge the gap. I'd happily scrap PDR if NIMBYism went in the same bin.

See also...

  • 28 October 2019

Civic Trust restates opposition to Southgate Office Village redevelopment proposals

Southgate District Civic Trust has restated its commitment to fight proposals for a development incorporating three towers, including one 17 storeys high, close to the Southgate Circus Conservation Area, and has launched a campaign to raise money to help it argue its case at a planning panel to be held next month. Revised proposals submitted by the developer last week include a reduction in the height of the towers, but not by a large enough amount to satisfy opponents. Read more

  • 29 September 2019

Cross-party support for enhanced control of office-to-flat conversions

Campaigners opposed to the indiscrimate conversion of offices into flats have welcomed support from both sides of the political divide on Enfield Council, among them council leader Nesil Caliskan. Council officers are currently investigating whether there is a strong enough case to apply for an 'Article 4 direction'. This would remove 'permitted development rights' which allow developers to carry out such conversions without obtaining planning permission. Read more

  • 19 August 2019

Petition calls on council to prevent conversion of offices into 'human warehouses'

A campaign group called BetterHomes Enfield has launched an online petition calling on Enfield Council to follow the example of many other London boroughs and take steps to prevent developers using a planning loophole called 'permitted rights' to convert office blocks into 'human warehouses' - turning former offices into flats which are not fit for purpose. Read more