Need to know: Councils warn of health risk of permitted development homes

New report highlights council concerns that homes created using permitted development rights could risk their occupants' health and wellbeing.

There is scope for offices to be converted to residential in many cities, but councils question the quality of homes that could be created (PIC Josephine Smit)
There is scope for offices to be converted to residential in many cities, but councils question the quality of homes that could be created (PIC Josephine Smit)

Half of England’s councils believe the homes being created using permitted development rights are potentially risking their occupants' health and wellbeing. This is among the findings in a report by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and written by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). The report, Housing for a fairer society, also notes that local authorities across the UK are reporting severe shortages of affordable housing for the fourth consecutive year, with only two per cent saying their need is not substantial. Three quarters of councils in England and Wales said they rely on developer contributions as their main source of income to deliver affordable housing. Paul O’Brien, chief executive of APSE, said, "Permitted developments are in danger of becoming the new slum housing of the twenty first century, de facto permitting a dangerous slide into deregulated and ultimately damaging housing provision."

Affordable housing provider One Housing has named housebuilder Countryside as its preferred development partner for the regeneration of two estates in Camden, north London. The proposed equal joint venture partnership will plan, design, fund and deliver the regeneration of the Gilbeys Yard and Juniper Crescent estates, subject to a positive resident ballot. The project will look to deliver up to 700 homes, including new homes for current residents. PRP is architect and masterplanner on the proposed redevelopment, and Quod is planning consultant.

Housebuilders Linden Homes and Miller Homes have completed a deal to jointly buy a site to the west of Chichester, Sussex, which is earmarked for 750 homes. The partnership will deliver the first part of the wider Whitehouse Farm development, which secured outline planning consent from Chichester District Council last year. The proposal provides 30 per cent affordable homes, community amenities, country park and other green spaces. Whitehouse Farm is expected to have 1,600 homes in all, as well as employment space and amenities. Linden Homes South managing director Phil Chapman said, "The acquisition comes after nearly 16 years promoting the site along with Miller Homes through the planning system and working collaboratively with the local authority and local stakeholders."

Grimsby has secured almost £4 million of government investment for regeneration as part of the next phase of its town deal. Under this second phase, North East Lincolnshire Council will work with national charity OnSide to develop a youth zone in Grimsby town centre. The listed West Haven Maltings buildings, on the site of the town’s oldest dock, have been earmarked for potential conversion for the youth zone. Councillor Philip Jackson, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said, "The town deal is acting as a catalyst to unlock a much wider regeneration programme for Grimsby town centre and the port of Grimsby." Youth zones provide large-scale multi-activity facilities, such as multi-use 3G pitches, indoor sports hall, climbing wall, gym, music, dance and performing arts spaces. OnSide is working with the council and local business community to secure capital and revenue funding for the youth zone.

Homes England is to work with the Ministry of Defence's Defence Infrastructure Organisation to bring forward development plans for a 1,300 home scheme in Ripon, in north Yorkshire. The Claro and Deverell Barracks site is the first to be progressed under a partnership between the two aimed at developing surplus Ministry of Defence land. As well as homes, the site is expected to provide commercial space.

Developer St Modwen has sealed a deal with Stoke on Trent City Council, which will see the local authority acquire its Trade Park industrial development. The move comes after the developer won planning consent to develop a further 8,000 square metres of industrial space at St Modwen Park Stoke Central, which itself is part of the larger Festival Park scheme. The third phase of development on the site begins this month, with the developer building the 4,000 square metre Trade Park for the council, plus a 4,000 square metre industrial/logistics unit, available to lease. Trade Park will provide a range of small employment units.

A quarter of people over the age of 55 are considering moving home, but more than half feel housing options available are inadequate. This is among the findings of a report published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which cites data from think tank the Centre for Towns and market research specialist ComRes. In its report, A home for the ages: Planning for the future through age-friendly design, RIBA makes a number of recommendations, including proposing that all new building housing should be accessible and adaptable.

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