News From Len Duvall: Flawed Policy Hampering Efforts To Tackle Housing Crisis In Lewisham
07th June 2019

News From Len Duvall: Flawed Policy Hampering Efforts To Tackle Housing Crisis In Lewisham

Local families have been left to live in claustrophobic and sub-standard conditions as a result of flawed Government planning policies. 309 homes have been built under relaxed conversion to residential rules (Permitted Development) in Lewisham since 2013, according to London Development Database figures obtained through a written response from the Mayor of London. Analysis of this data has also shown that none of these homes were affordable. Local London Assembly Member, Len Duvall AM, is calling upon the Government to urgently scrap Permitted Development rights, saying the priority should be to build the genuinely affordable and decent homes Londoners actually need.

Permitted Development rules allow developers to convert certain office and industrial buildings to residential use without going through the full planning process, in an aim to speed up the delivery of new homes. These conversions are also exempt from having to adhere to minimum space standards laid down by the Government.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data, has been used to identify the floorspace of 79 of the permitted development homes built in Lewisham since 2013. This has revealed that 34 of these flout minimum space standards.

London requires 65,000 new homes a year, according to the New London Plan, with 65% of these needing to be affordable. However, of the 15,929 homes built across the capital through Permitted Development conversions since 2013, only 71 were affordable – accounting for just 0.4%.

Last Autumn, the Government consulted on proposals to extend Permitted Development to allow a wider range of high street uses to be converted to homes without planning permission. The Government also proposes to give Permitted Development Rights to the full demolition of commercial buildings to be rebuilt as residential properties.

Local London Assembly Member, Len Duvall AM, said: “This flawed Government policy is hampering the efforts being made to tackle the acute housing crisis faced by Lewisham.

“Permitted Development doesn’t offer a solution to housing shortfall, it just forces families into sub-standard, rabbit-hutch homes.

“Government plans to further extend Permitted Development Rights are extremely concerning and could lay the groundwork for the slums of the future

“Planning standards have been put in place for a reason, and our priority should be to build the thousands of genuinely affordable and decent quality homes that Londoners need. All the evidence suggests that the Government need to scrap this policy as a matter of urgency”.