Our response to the supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure consultation
Braintree District Council has published its response to a central government consultation which sought views on a number of changes to the planning system including the potential to make it easier for more buildings to be changed from commercial use into residential use.
The Supporting Housing Delivery and Public Service Infrastructure consultation ran from December 2020 until the end of January 2021 and was carried out by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The consultation asked for views on a proposed new permitted development right for the change of use from Commercial, Business and Service use to residential to create new homes. Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.
Cllr Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning at Braintree District Council, said: “We support planning reform where it means a better outcome for residents, but we do not want to see anything that will mean poor quality homes with no regard for the impact on the local community and infrastructure. Our concern is that if these proposals go ahead, they could lead to a considerable increase in converted buildings in inappropriate places that we, as a local planning authority, have no control over.”
In its response Braintree District Council set out a number of concerns with the proposals including:
- The impact of more buildings becoming eligible for conversion to a residential use, without going through a full planning application process, on the local area, local infrastructure and the quality of the homes created.
- The reduction of the chance for the local authority to be able to ask the developer to mitigate against the direct impacts of the resulting developments on local infrastructure.
- The greater possibility of unsuitable commercial buildings within retail parks and business parks becoming residential.
- A reduction in local decision making when converting from commercial to residential on High Streets and the impact to local businesses.
- The regular piecemeal changes to the planning system that contradict other areas of reform such as the nation design guide.
You can read our full consultation response to Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure.