Updated Apr 9, 2021

Professionals urge Johnson to reverse new regulations

Boris Johnson is being urged by several built environment professionals, including the RTPI, to reverse new regulations that will see parts of the planning process skipped to turn commercial buildings into homes.

The legislation introduces a new permitted development right (PDR) that allows the change of use from commercial, business and service uses (class E) to residential use (C3) in England. Some of the buildings covered under Class E include restaurants, shops, professional services, offices and light industrial premises.

The Government hopes this change will encourage more people to live in high streets and have said it will "help support the creation of much-needed homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life – removing eyesores, transforming unused buildings and making the most of brownfield land".

A letter for the Government to "urgently reconsider the measures" has been sent from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The letter has asked the Government to consider adding safeguards to the legislation to minimise the possible harm.

The organisations involved have said:

"Without the usual checks and balances through the normal planning process and without the facility for local communities to comment on proposals, this risks creating poor-quality housing."

For more information, see the:

  • Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order SI 2021/428.