Develop the Castle?

14 January 2021

Towns and Villages could change with little control

It is unlikly to affect the Castle but the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have been exceptionally busy in the past few months revising Permitted Development Rights.  The MHCLG has now issued yet another consultation (3rd December 2020) which proposes yet more changes and integrates previous changes.  Permitted Development Rights provide property owners with the right to change use of buildings and make certain modifications without having to seek planning permission in the absence of other policies.

MHCLG, despite the worthy principles in the recent Planning for the Future White Paper, seem determined to allow change of use to create more housing in an unconstrained and unplanned manner.   

Civic Voice, the voice of civic societies across the country have noted:

‘We have serious concerns about these proposals and the continued expansion of permitted development rights (PDR) in England, when the Government's own commissioned report has concluded that permitted development rights create “worse-quality residential environments”. Based on an analysis of permitted development schemes across 11 local planning authorities, the report found that just 22.1% of homes created through PDR meet national space standards, compared with 73.4% delivered through full planning permission.’ 

The new proposals appear to apply to Conservation Areas, and have little limit on building size. 

Guildford will have problems managing these changes, if it is adopted, as the Local Plan has weak policies on Height and Mass of Buildings, Views and Density.  PDR’s by increasing population in Guildford puts more pressure on creaking infrastructure (Education, Health Facilities and Waste, Water, Power, Transport).  PDR’s could impact schemes already in the Local Plan as infrastructure capacity won’t allow for their development.

The opportunity for the local population to have a say in how the Town and Borough develops could be severely decreased.  Whitehall’s centralisation agenda rolls on.  We will be responding to the consultation which can be read in full below.


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