Poor Quality Development

01 February 2021

Does this Change of Use produce a Quality Result?

A recent Prior Notification for converting offices to dwellings shows the pressure the local area may come under with ill-considered developments.

MHCLG Facing in Two Directions

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have been busy making Permitted Development Rights less onerous and proposing relaxation of Conversion rules from one class of building to another.  This is all in a quest to up the number of new dwellings provided to 300,000 per annum. 

The MHCLG appear to be promoting two badly interlinked policies at present one seeking to improve the quality of our housing as represented by the aspirations expressed in the ‘Planning for the Future’ document whilst at the same easing planning regulations on existing buildings with little reference to provision of quality dwellings and support infrastructure.

Conversion of Offices to 86 Dwellings

The Prior Notification is to convert Unit 4 at Guildford Business Park from offices to 86 residential apartments (54 x 1 bed flats and 32 x 2 bed flats and 3 accessible units).   Although Guildford needs more dwellings it has to be questioned whether this is a suitable location, are the dwellings going to be of good quality, and will local facilities e.g. Medical, Schools be able to cope.

Finally we do need to question if changing use particulally as the requirements for commercial space of all kinds and its location is so volatile at present.

See plans attached to this post.


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