The Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) has slammed the UK government’s planned changes to permitted development rights, which are due to come into force in September.
Under the proposals announced at the end of June, Boris Johnson revealed that planning permission will no longer be required to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings, provided they are rebuilt as homes.
His government will also introduce a new fast-track approvals process for homeowners who want to extend their property up by as much as two storeys, subject to neighbour consultation.
However, Alan Jones, RIBA president, has described the changes to permitted development rights as “truly disgraceful”.
“There is no evidence that the planning system is to blame for the shortage of housing, and plenty to suggest that leaving local communities powerless in the face of developers seeking short-term returns will lead to poor results,” he asserted.
Mr Jones stated that RIBA is concerned that because developers won’t need planning permission, it will result in the construction of sub-standard homes that have “little to no natural light” and that could be smaller than “budget hotel rooms”.
He stressed that, instead, the government should have explored how it could incentivise sustainable developments and called this a “missed opportunity”. Mr Jones also revealed that RIBA intends to write to the secretary of state about the changes “as a matter of urgency”.
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