The Big Picture: Windowless flats banned

Permitted development rules that saw approval last year for seven windowless flats in this Watford light industrial building will change at the beginning of August.

Photo: Julian Dodd
Photo: Julian Dodd

Following the rule change, consideration of whether new homes created through permitted development rights (PDRs) benefit from adequate natural light in all habitable rooms will be required as a condition of prior approval. The move has been made as part of wider changes to the rights, which from 1 August will also allow blocks of flats to be extended upwards by two storeys to create new homes without the need for a planning application. Further PDR extensions are promised before August. However, a report into the quality of homes delivered by existing office-to-residential PDRs, commissioned by the government in January 2019, remains unpublished.

15

The number of flats in a conversion of this building approved at appeal last year, seven of which would have been windowless

9

The number of flats, all with windows, that the conversion will now include, after the Watford Observer reported that the original plans have been revised

1st

The date in August 2020 that marks the launch of new permitted development rules. These will prevent windowless flats, but also allow new types of housing development without a planning application

14

The number of months since the announcement of the as-yet-unpublished government review into the quality of homes delivered by the extension of permitted development rights to allow conversion of offices to flats

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