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Saturday, 2 February 2019

Converting offices into housing under the new 'permitted development rights' allows developers to build homes well below space standards, remote from infrastructure or with insufficient natural light, as well as dodging affordable housing obligations.

There is the argument that we 'need' a new industrial estate at Sidford - because we 'need' new housing at site of the current industrial estate at Alexandria Road: 

‘New industrial estate for Sidmouth’- plea

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 

PLANNING chiefs plotting Sidmouth’s future should hand the town a brand new industrial estate and build houses on its current one, civic leaders have urged.
Town representatives have asked East Devon District Council (EDDC) to change a strategy document which proposes the creation of 12 acres of employment land and 720 new homes in the town.
They want to see a new employment site to the north of Sidmouth AND improved access to the Alexandria Industrial Estate - branded “past its sell-by date”.
Residents might have to “swallow” a new industrial estate being built in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for the good of the town, said Councillor Graham Liverton at a Sidmouth Town Council Trustee meeting on Monday.
“We have to bite the bullet,” he said, “if Sidmouth is to survive and carry on it’s vital. We want to get away from Alexandria Road. That industrial estate needs to be moved, it would be better for housing.”



‘New indsutrial estate for Sidmouth’- plea | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
Futures Forum: The future of the Alexandria Road Industrial Estate 

Or maybe not:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Other sites are available 
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > And Alexandria Industrial Estate: "a satisfactory solution could be reached" to the issue of access
Futures Forum: Sidford Business Park > "the need for the development has not been proven, with the existing employment site at Alexandria Road still having capacity." 

Meanwhile, a decade later and the government hopes it can kill two birds with one stone - solve the housing crisis and save the high street by relaxing planning laws:
Futures Forum: Is turning shops into homes the best way to save our high streets? >>> "Deregulation in pursuit of numbers"

A spate of articles from the Architects' Journal shows there's considerable disquiet about the idea coming from the built environment professionals:
Weekend roundup: Building the slums of the future | Opinion | Architects Journal
Architects should be angrier about poor office-to-resi conversions | Opinion | Architects Journal
Office-to-resi: is it time for architects to boycott? | News | Architects Journal
Office-to-resi conversions producing ‘poor-quality housing’, report warns | News | Architects Journal

And many other professionals are joining in: 
An open letter on Permitted Development Rights | Local Government Association
A new low in office-to-residential conversions | Opinion | Building Design
Have office to residential conversions had their day? | London Business News | Londonlovesbusiness.com
Quality warning for office-to-resi conversions | Construction Manager - News
Office-to-resi PD rights 'most shameful planning policy since 1945', says TCPA chief | Planning Resource

Indeed, the Town and Country Planning Association has made it very clear that this isn't working:


TCPA launches campaign against office-to-resi development





The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has announced a new campaign calling on the government to reverse its policy to allow more developers to bypass the planning system.


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Ministers plan to allow more conversions of offices into homes (picture: Getty)
Ministers plan to allow more conversions of offices into homes (picture: Getty)





TCPA announces anti-permitted development campaign #ukhousing @theTCPA #ukhousing


Under permitted development rights, commercial and office buildings can be converted into housing without needing planning permission.
In his Autumn Budget statement last month, chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the freedoms would be extended to include non-residential buildings demolished and then rebuilt as homes.
Permitted development rules were significantly expanded under former communities secretary Eric Pickles in 2013 with the intention of boosting housebuilding – and around 100,000 homes have been delivered this way over the past five years.
However, critics of the policy say it allows developers to build homes well below space standards, remote from infrastructure or with insufficient natural light, as well as dodging affordable housing obligations.



READ MORE

Office-to-resi: striking the right balance between quantity and qualityOffice-to-resi: striking the right balance between quantity and quality
Space invaders: a look at office-to-resiSpace invaders: a look at office-to-resi
Westminster Council to attempt to force office-to-resi conversions through planning systemWestminster Council to attempt to force office-to-resi conversions through planning system

Dr Hugh Ellis, interim chief executive of the TCPA, said: “Permitted development is one of the biggest housing mistakes in post-war history and the legacy will blight a whole generation of people who are condemned to live in tiny cramped conditions without any basic care for their health and well-being.”
“This policy must be stopped before we deliver 21st century slums.”
Listen to a podcast interviewing Nick Raynsford about the planning system:
The TCPA – which was formerly led by National Housing Federation chief executive Kate Henderson – is calling for better data on the effects of permitted development rights and tougher national design rules for housing.
Nick Raynsford, president of the TCPA and a former housing minister under Tony Blair, last week published a review of the planning system that recommended ministers “urgently” restrict permitted development.
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Inside Housing - News - TCPA launches campaign against office-to-resi development
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