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MPs to examine PDRs

Words: Laura Edgar
Investigation / iStock-1126993468

The Housing, Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has declared that it will examine the government’s approach to permitted development rights (PDR) in England.

Last summer the government outlined a number of changes to PDR, including allowing a range of commercial buildings to be turned into residential units without going through the full planning process, and upwards extensions to post-war buildings.

The committee said the inquiry would examine the effects these PDR expansions have had – and will continue to have – on the planning system and the government’s targets for new homes and economic growth.

The results at a local level will also be examined, such as the ability of local authorities to plan development holistically, developer contributions and the provision of services to meet changing local needs.

Changes to PDR set out in the government's planning white paper Planning for the Future will also be part of the inquiry.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: “Local communities face an unprecedented challenge. The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has placed severe pressures on urban environments that were already struggling. As we look to return to normal life we still don’t know what the long-term outlook will be, both in terms of the viability of existing commercial and office space or the need for domestic housing.

“Given these uncertainties, it is crucial that the right framework is in place to support local communities to adapt to meet the new reality, whatever it may be. The government has indicated its intention to use permitted development rights to allow greater flexibility in how buildings are used, removing the need for planning approval for switching use between offices, shops and housing under certain circumstances.

“We have launched this inquiry to understand the implications of this approach. Does it provide sufficient scope for local authorities to set out a coherent plan that addresses local needs? How well does it support the government’s broader goals for economic development and housing capacity? Fundamentally, do they enable the economic and societal recovery we need?”

The committee has invited submissions on a number of issues, including the consequences of PDR for the quality of housing and its effects on the involvement of local communities in the planning process.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 30 April 2021. More information can be found here.

Read more:

Permitted development will put towns at risk, industry warns Jenrick

Built environment organisations outline concerns about government’s PDR proposals

Local essential services at risk from permitted development in England

Prior approval requirements added to PDR for upward extensions      

Updated permitted development rights are unveiled

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