The battle to end office to residential conversions through permitted development rights (PDR) is stepping up a gear as more shocking examples come to light, and more organisations and individuals join the fight. It’s great that Shelter and the TCPA have both announced campaigns to end a misguided policy that prevents basic standards, and requirements for affordable housing, from being applied. However imperfect our planning system may be, this form of PD has proved that we need development control to rein in those developers who believe almost anything goes.
Just as Newbury House in Ilford (below) is a new low in terms of internal space and exposure to poor air quality, 15-17 Grange Mills in Balham (above) is a new low in terms of daylight and amenity. If the latest scheme goes ahead, three of the proposed flats in this industrial estate won’t even have a window; they’ll just share an industrial skylight.
We aren’t suggesting that the government’s policy was intended to facilitate outcomes like this and we’re not opposed to the principle of converting office buildings to housing; we just want enough scrutiny to filter out the bad from the good. See Shelter's open letter to the Housing Minister here as well as the guest blog they invited us to write here.