The Government’s changes to planning will result in more poor-quality homes: TCPA response to today’s announcement

Greenway House, Harlow Essex

The Government’s intention to remove the last remaining safeguards on converting commercial buildings to housing risks condemning a new generation to the worst kind of unhealthy housing.

Today’s announcement confirms that the Government is scrapping the law that limits the size of buildings that can be converted to housing without the need for full planning permission to 1,500 square metres. This means that commercial buildings of any size, in any location – including industrial estates – could be converted into hundreds if not thousands of flats without applying for planning permission.

The TCPA recognises the need for more homes and recently published Our Shared Future: A TCPA White Paper for Homes and Communities, which sets out a roadmap for tackling England’s housing crisis. It outlines practical measures to support the delivery of new homes that are of a high quality and therefore support people’s health, wellbeing and life chances.

Hugh Ellis, the TCPA’s Director of Policy, said: ‘There will be no requirements for carbon reduction or to avoid overheating in the summer on these new homes. Nor will there be any requirements for any play space for children or green space of any kind nor even a window. Section 106 agreements will not apply so local authorities will have no resources to support schools and health care facilities.’

The Government’s pretention for beautiful homes cannot hide their drive for the removal of the basic standards in new homes which are vital for people’s health and wellbeing. We know homes delivered through permitted development rights have resulted in kids playing in carparks in converted industrial estates. It is hard to understand why the government is looking to make that grim outcome a reality for even more young people.’

Image Credit: Rob Clayon (details below)

Notes to editors:

Our Shared Future: A TCPA White Paper for Homes and Communities is available at

Further photographs taken by Rob Clayton as part of the TCPA’s Healthy Homes campaign are available to view at Copies of the photos for publication are available on request.

Earlier statement from the TCPA opposing government proposals to further extend Permitted Development Rights: Expanding Permitted Development Rights – Town and Country Planning Association (

Contact: Julia Thrift, TCPA Director of Healthier Placemaking