PD rights: campaigners launch judicial review
A campaign group has launched a judicial review to stop new laws allowing developers to build homes on disused commercial sites without going through the planning process by using enhanced permitted development rights (PDR).
The group, Rights: Community: Action (RCA), is challenging the use of statutory instruments to extend PDR. The reforms were laid before parliament, as part of a package of measures put forward by housing secretary Robert Jenrick, who wants to cut red tape in the planning system.
They were due to become law yesterday (31 August), ahead of parliament reconvening today (1 September). The changes will allow disused offices, shops or warehouses to be repurposed or demolished and new houses constructed and for up to two storeys to be built above existing detached residential properties.
A number of construction professional bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), have expressed concern to Jenrick that the extension of PDR could lead to a decline in construction quality.
Now solicitors Leigh Day, acting for RAC, have issued the claim and an urgent interim order to delay the new rules on PDR until its legal challenge is resolved. Jenrick has received a pre-action protocol letter calling for the statutory instruments to be paused until a strategic environmental assessment, impact assessments and a parliamentary debate occurs.
Naomi Luhde-Thompson, the coordinator for RCA and a former Friends of the Earth planning and policy advisor, said: “The prime minister admits these are the biggest planning reforms since the Second World War, yet they’re being rushed through with scant regard for the previous consultation and in a period which excludes the input of MPs.
“We believe these changes will have a phenomenally negative impact on the people and environment of towns and cities across England. That’s why we feel compelled to act so urgently.”
The action group argues the government has failed to take on board previous consultation responses and its own experts’ advice about the existing permitted development rights.