Planning rule changes mean more substandard housing

Changes to permitted development announced by the Government mean that far more substandard houses are likely to be built in the UK over the next few years.

Sam Al-Hamdani, the shadow cabinet member for Housing and Homelessness on Oldham Council said: “We cannot abandon housing standards for the sake of getting these extra houses. The Conservative Government is rushing through rules that are going to create a new generation of slums. And the places that are most going to be affected are the places which are already struggling to get new housing – such as Oldham. 

Sam Al-Hamdani, shadow cabinet for housing and homelessness

On the same day that the changes were rushed through, a damning report investigating the results of the previous changes to permitted development showed that only 21% of houses created using permitted development would meet the national standard for space, compared to 73.4% of those created using planning permission. 

According to the report, there were flats being built under the permitted development rules where the entire dwelling measured 4m x 4m – only slightly larger than a Vauxhall Zafira.  

The Liberal Democrat councillor for Saddleworth West and Lees continued: “At the last council meeting, I brought a motion to address exactly these issues – permitted development has resulted in cramped, ill-suited housing, some of which doesn’t even have windows in. It is ironic that while we were successful in getting that motion passed, the Government is doing even more to undermine housing standards in this country.

“There is a problem in the UK with a lack of housebuilding, and it does need addressing. This is not the way to do it – it will consign a new generation of people to being trapped in substandard accommodation.

“Our high streets will changes dramatically in the next few years, and residential use is going to be one of the main changes. We should be changing the rules to encourage great housing in our towns and cities – not throwing humane standards out of a non-existent window.”

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