A developer is looking to convert a warehouse in Blackheath into 10 small flats using Permitted Development Rights.
Permitted Development Rights allow developers to avoid seeking formal planning permission and removes a need to meet many standards that apply to homes including minimum room sizes – and even the need for windows.
It also allows developers to avoid making any provision for “affordable housing”.
Despite the obvious impact on living quality and a report commissioned by Government into the effect of Permitted Development Rights concluding it produces “worse quality homes”, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced an expansion of the scheme on the same day under the guise of “cutting red tape”.
Minimal information is included in the notifications sent to Lewisham Council for the warehouse at Eton Grove. There is no information on flat sizes or even whether homes will have windows.
Google aerial views and images in the “application” show bricked up windows at first floor level and back gardens at ground floor level facing garden on one side and dense foliage the other. There are no windows – even bricked up – at street level.
There are skylights but it doesn’t appear to be enough to provide natural light to all 10 homes. As developers do not need to provide information under Permitted Rights, there is no way of knowing when looking at documents submitted to the local authority.
The report into PDR found that “Just 22.1% of dwellings created through permitted development meet national space standards, compared with 73.4% created through full planning permission”.
0.4 per cent had no windows at all.
Without the need to meet most guidelines for new homes, councils by default have to permit. Lewisham Council have done given no alternative.