Briefing: Extending Permitted Development Rights

By: Angel Strachan
Published: December 2018

Extending Permitted Development Rights

There are over 300,000 people without a home in England today. At the root of this is a long-term failure to build enough homes, and particularly enough social homes.

Despite this urgent need, the government provides developers with get out clauses, letting them take forward new developments without providing any social or affordable homes. One of these ‘get outs’ is Permitted Development Rights (PDR), which in recent years has been expanded dramatically from its original purpose and which allows developers to bypass local planning process.

In addition, development done through PDR has no requirement to deliver any social or affordable homes. As a result, thousands of affordable homes have potentially been lost in the past 3 years.

The government is now considering a proposal to supercharge this get out clause and make it even more common. The proposals would allow developers to demolish some existing non-residential buildings like office blocks and rebuild them without full planning permission.

This will not only potentially drain away more social homes, but also take more power away from communities over what gets built and where. Hence, PDR is a ticking timebomb that risks further undermining vital public support for development in the future.

We are calling on the government  not to expand PDR to include demolitions.

In the long term, we need a commitment to investment in social housebuilding to create a new generation of social homes. This will also require significant reform of the land market, for example, by addressing the 1961 Land Compensation Act, which has stopped development for so long.