TCPA to launch campaign against 'scandal' of office-to-resi PD rights

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is set to launch a new campaign against the "scandal" of permitted development (PD) rights, it announced yesterday.

Ellis: new TCPA campaign to highlight 'scandal' of residential PD rights
Ellis: new TCPA campaign to highlight 'scandal' of residential PD rights

Speaking at the association’s annual conference in London, the organisation’s interim chief executive and head of policy Hugh Ellis said the TCPA would be launching an "evidence-led campaign which will run for a year".

The campaign would highlight the outcomes resulting from the residential PD rights, Ellis said, which were first introduced in 2013 and allows the conversions of offices and other commercial buildings to housing without planning permission.

Ellis said the evidence he had witnessed of the PD rights' results was "so shocking that I never thought I would see it in an advanced economy".

The campaign, which is provisionally titled Room to Breathe, will campaign for basic housing standards and for powers over conversions to be given back to local authorities, he said.

"We are going to get in the way, disrupt, reveal and campaign thoroughly and actively around the permitted development rights scandal - which is exactly what it is," Ellis said.

The PD rights, Ellis said, are "the engine for the debate about planning now, and it’s an engine that shouldn’t have been there because we told the government it would be a disaster and so it has proved to be".

"When you see that you have children playing in live car parks with no access to proper facilities, and have to walk across dual carriageways to get to school, that’s when you understand planning has a moral basis - that’s when you understand how important it is to do this job well," Ellis said

Ellis also announced at the conference that the TCPA's Raynsford Review of Planning, which last week published its main report, will be extended by six months to review how far its recommendations have been met by the government.

"For a six month extension, we are going to go on thinking about your responses to the review, so pleased keep talking to us," he said.

"Then in six months' time, we are going to publish a brief report which summarises how far we think the government has responded to what we have said."

"We are not naive about that but it’s a good discipline to see how we are doing and trying to keep the conversation about reinventing planning going," he said.

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