Residential PD rights creating "slums of tomorrow", warns Raynsford

The Town and Country Planning Association's (TCPA) review of the planning system found "very widespread dissatisfaction" with the outcomes being delivered, the review chair has said, as he warned that residential permitted development (PD) rights were creating the "slums of tomorrow".

Nick Raynsford: led TCPA's planning review
Nick Raynsford: led TCPA's planning review

TCPA president and former Labour housing and planning minister Nick Raynsford chaired the Raynsford Review of Planning, whose final report was published last week.

He told the TCPA's annual conference last week that the review found that dissatisfaction with the way the system operates was "widely shared across sectors", including among developers, communities, planners and councillors.

"There is widespread appetite for change for improvements and for a better planning system, but little common ground on what should be those changes," he said.

"Very different recipes were brought forward by different interest groups - so we had to weight those up."

Raynsford singled out PD rights allowing conversion of offices or commercial buildings to housing for delivering poor outcomes.

"The scale of this is something that many people are not aware of," he said.

"There is no safeguard against shockingly bad and in some cases grossly insanitary and unsatisfactory development.

"And I’m afraid permitted development has allowed some shockingly poor examples of housing converted to ridiculously low space standards with insanitary conditions and without adequate play areas for children. These are actually the slums of tomorrow.

"That frankly has to come to an end."

TCPA interim chief executive Hugh Ellis announced at the conference that the Raynsford review 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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