The government has deregulated the planning system so that commercial and office buildings can be converted into housing units without proper safeguards. 100,000 units have already come through this route, many of them homes located in the wrong place and built to very low standards. The outcomes range from 70% of units not meeting basic space standards, to the lack of basic infrastructure such as play space and public transport for families living in these new homes.


No one should live without sufficient natural light, no child should have to play in a car park, everyone should have access to green and play space within a two-minute walk of their home. Converting building to homes can be great but only if it’s done to the proper standards.

The government now intends to extend permitted development rights to allow for commercial buildings to be demolished and rebuilt as housing.  The TCPA has launched a new campaign urging the government to reconsider this policy based on its harmful effects. 

The campaign is being informed by:

  • Bringing together existing evidence across the sector on the outcomes of the policy
  • Gathering more detailed evidence including case studies from councils across the country
  • Creating a coalition of people and organisations to stop the extension of permitted development
  • Campaigning for much tougher national design rules for housing.

If you would like to direct us towards examples of poor-quality housing built through permitted development (submitted in strict confidence), please email our team with details: [email protected]


During 2019, the TCPA will be holding a parliamentary event to mark the centenary of Lloyd George's commitment to providing soldiers with 'homes fit for heroes', which was a turning point in the birth of minimum design standards for new places. Keep an eye on this page for more details.