Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

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CIOB voices quality fears over planning white paper

7 August 2020

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has voiced fears that the government’s “landmark” planning reforms detailed in a white paper entitled Planning for the Future could harm the quality of new housing developments.

The CIOB warned that there are “clear impacts” on the quality of residential conversions created through permitted development rights (PDRs), with many failing to meet national space standards, lacking amenity space and suffering from low quality design and poor locations.

It added that high volumes of PDRs have wide ranging impacts on transport, community facilities, play space and green space, and without Section 106 agreements or Community Infrastructure Levy contributions to offset the costs associated with provision of community infrastructure, local authorities are further financially burdened.

The CIOB also voiced fears that PDR risked jeopardising the public’s trust by creating poor-quality accommodation as standard, in spite of all the work the construction industry has done to reform post-Grenfell.

It urged the government to avoid “sleep walking” into a policy regime that it said will “produce yet more misery and tragedy for occupants”. It said in a statement: “It is vital that the proposed changes to the planning system do not put quantity before the long term quality, character and accessibility of our built environment.”

Eddie Tuttle, director of policy, research and public affairs at the CIOB, said: “The white paper published today highlights the need for reform of the planning system in order to build the homes we desperately need. But we are concerned the government’s focus on extending permitted development rights, including the ability to demolish and rebuild commercial and residential buildings on existing sites without a full planning —if implemented without significant safeguards—will lock in more unacceptable standard development, the consequences of which we will live with for generations or must rectify later at greater expense.”