Changes to planning rules from 1st August 2021 mean that residents have no say in even more planning decisions. The Conservatives have widened Permitted Development Rights (PDR) allowing developers to convert vacant shops, restaurants and gyms to housing without needing to apply for planning permission.
Developers can do more or less what they like. There are no rules about room sizes, having a window or insulation to keep somewhere warm in winter or cool in summer. This change has been introduced despite a July 2020 report for Government which said that PDR ‘ create worse quality residential environments in relation to a number of factors linked to the health and well-being of future occupiers’.
Oldham Labour recognises that the high street is changing as people shop more on line and we need to find new uses for shops and other town centre buildings. The plans recently announced for the Spindles and Tommyfield market will free up brownfield land for new homes in the Town Centre. A new vibrant community needs good quality homes built to high standards that will withstand Oldham’s weather and contribute to zero carbon targets not the slums of the future. Extending PDR will undermine efforts to renew and revitalise Oldham Town Centre and adversely affect other communities across the borough.
Councillor Hannah Roberts, Cabinet Member for Housing said ‘Expanding Permitted Development Rights benefits developers not residents needing good quality homes. A home without a window is just unacceptable, even if allowed by a Planning Inspector on appeal as in a recent case in Watford. I note that developers continue to fill Tory party coffers – most recent figures show that a quarter of Tory party donations since Mr Johnson became PM, some £18 million, have come from donors with property related interests.
This week’s change is yet another step on the slippery slope taking away our right to have a say on planning decisions which will be rounded off by the proposed changes to the Planning system promised in the Queen’s Speech. If the Tories have their way we will all be shut out from decisions affecting our local communities’