Now that the government has confirmed that the temporary rules allowing the conversion of offices into homes is to be permanent, and extended, POS has expressed its concerns, including that of poor environmental and amenity standards for such homes.
Mike Kiely, Chair of the POS Board of Trustees, told Planning magazine that the Society had been opposed to the permitted development rights for some time, adding that in some cases it had resulted in low quality housing coming forward. "Residential is clearly important but so are jobs, and this is not targeted at vacant offices in any sense whatsoever," he added. "We have experience of occupied offices being given notice to quit in order to bring this forward. We are going to run into a problem of affordable office space before very long."
The government has also announced its intention to introduce a permitted development right to allow the conversion of launderettes and light industrial units into homes, subject to prior approval by the LPA. Kiely has raised concerns about the proposals with Planning, outlining that launderettes provide an essential service, often in deprived areas. He added that industrial units "are fundamentally not designed to be residential". He said: "Quite often they are metal framed buildings with a thin cladding on, they do not lend themselves to conversion at all." He added, "They tend to be located in industrial areas, which are characterised by noise, smells and heavy traffic."