In November last year we said “it must be time to consider an amendment to Part O to require minimum floorspace provision”, in a Blog which highlighted the potential for substandard office-to-residential conversions under permitted development rights (Sauce for the goose).
A recent report from RICS – Extending Permitted Development Rights in England – has concluded in the same vein. The study found that the office-to-residential permitted development rights, introduced in 2013, have “produced a higher amount of poor-quality housing than schemes governed through full planning permission”.
The report suggests that office-to-residential change of use “should not be counted as permitted development in England”, or, if that would be a step too far, that government “might instead consider introducing more safeguards to the prior approvals process”. These might include “adding minimum space standards which would apply even to PDR schemes”.
As might be expected from such an illustrious body, the RICS study is a well-presented and illuminating document and we urge you to take a look.