Julia Park unpicks the paradoxes in government thinking on housing
If, like me, you already find permitted development rights thoroughly confusing, look out, because it just got worse. Apart from confirming the extension of Help to Buy and expanding stamp duty exemptions to shared ownership, the only new thing the Autumn Budget had to offer for housing was more PD.
A consultation, Planning Reform: Supporting the High Street and Increasing the Delivery of New Homes, was launched alongside the budget. It’s an odd title for a document that also covers disposal of local authority land, CPO powers for new town development corporations and a consent order for work to listed waterway structures.
New PD rights are, however, the main item. The opening paragraph of the consultation boasts that 18,900 new homes were created through PD in 2016-17 alone. It’s very disappointing that the worst of the office-to-residential conversions we’ve seen and heard so much about recently seem not to have had any impact on the government’s aims, or even its conscience. It’s still all about deregulation in pursuit of numbers.
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