Plans to use Blackheath warehouse as housing

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.

Upper floor

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.

Courtesy Google. Aerial view: Surrounded by private gardens, a sub station and dense foliage

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.


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    13 thoughts on “Plans to use Blackheath warehouse as housing

    • How horrible! Why not just get it over with and criminalise the homeless, and low-income, then we can just lock ‘em up!
      I fear that’s where we may be headed, especially after reading about this. No windows and maybe a skylight? Sounds like solitary confinement cells, to me!

      • Seems like getting locked up might be a better quality of life than living here

    • I could not agree with you more PaulSuperUnkown.

      Homes with out windows is a disaster waiting to happen and should never be allowed under any circumstances.

    • Looks akin to a prison, or a workhouse. I worry about where we’re headed as a society.

    • Yes I agree Chris Nash. Where are we heading as a society.

      I also agree with CDT It would not take to much work to unbrick the bricked up windows and fit new windows. It would also not take to much work either to fit windows where there are not windows.

      Otherwise these properties really will be a disaster waiting to happen and we need to learn from previous tragic events and make sure properties are built to the highest safety standards at all times.,

      Planning permission should not be passed on properties without windows. This should also apply to both homes and hotel rooms etc.

    • Surely this can’t pass health and safety? Not just regarding the lack of light, but what happens is there’s a fire?

    • It’s another chapter in the downward spiral of homes in this country where people are being warehoused rather than housed.

      It is disgusting how permitted development and the further relaxation of planning rules are seen to be the answer to the chronic housing need.

    • That could easily be refused on highway and transport grounds.

      • All you can do with a prior approval application is go through the application and say whether or not it meets the requirements set out by Government in the General Permitted Development Order. You can’t look at the wider array of planning policies and apply them to refuse the application.

        E.g.Wellstones, Watford

        This small warehouse on an industrial estate is being converted into tiny studio flats, seven of which will have no windows at all.

        Watford Council attempted to block the scheme on the grounds that the “oppressive environment would have a serious impact on the health of the future occupiers”.

        However, the Planning Inspectorate overturned the council’s decision in July 2019, concluding that the issues did not breach PDR rules.

    • Ha, ha. There are no rules in permitted development, so they cannot be breached. Seriously, permitted development is leading to Dickensian conditions.

    • Why are such building consents even legal? If as a democracy we don’t set, maintain and apply guaranteed standards for accommodation we are legalising abuse and exploitation.
      I suggest we ALL oppose the planning bill.


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