08 March 2023
The APPGs for Ending Homelessness and Housing Market and Housing delivery published a joint inquiry on rethinking commercial to residential conversions. This was proposed as a solution for providing more settled housing options for homeless households.
We were clear in our response that the only real solution to the acute shortage of affordable housing options is to build more settled affordable housing. The proposal to expand on old office block conversions as a means of providing more settled housing options for households will only go a small way to addressing the acute housing crisis.
We also have serious concerns about the quality, safety, accessibility and location of many of these types of commercial to residential conversions, currently brought forward outside of the planning system by Permitted Development Rights. There have been too many cases where these homes have not been fit for purpose and ultimately detrimental to residents’ wellbeing.
However, we think that by bringing Permitted Development Rights into the planning system, and increasing their regulation significantly, there is an opportunity for these conversions to contribute to the supply of much needed affordable homes. With the right funding and support, housing associations are well placed to participate in the process.
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