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Law Society lukewarm about proposed extension of permitted development rights

The number of homes likely to be produced through a proposed extension of permitted development rights will be inconsequential in meeting demand for housing, the Law Society’s Planning and Environmental Law Committee has said.

The committee’s comments came in its response on response on behalf of Chancery Lane to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation: 'Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes'.

Proposals in the consultation are intended to allow greater change of use to support high streets to adapt and diversify, support extending existing buildings upwards to create additional homes, and speed up the delivery of new homes.

The committee said: “We recognise the urgent need to increase the housing stock. In this regard, the proposals to extend permitted development rights to allow for the construction of, or conversion to, residential use appears attractive.

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“However, in reality, the Law Society is concerned that the numbers likely to be produced through this means will be inconsequential in meeting that demand.”

It added: “The revised National Planning Policy Framework seeks to ‘ensure the vitality of our town centres by taking a positive approach to their growth, management and adaptation’.

“We are of the view that this positive approach is best delivered through the formulation and delivery of locally-appropriate strategies, via the plan-led approach rather than nationally-determined and ‘one size fits all’ permitted development solutions.”

The committee also said it believed that change should be positively managed through the planning system “which provides the ability for change to be carefully managed so as not to have unintended consequences”.

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