No pause to extension of permitted development rights planned

  • 07/05/2019
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No pause to extension of permitted development rights planned
The government has rejected calls from MPs to pause extending permitted development rights (PDRs) and to allow its Future High Streets Task Force to provide financial advice on property.


It has also ruled out introducing a body to liase between landlords and tenants where disputes occur and will not legislate to prohibit upward only rent increase clauses.

The details came as part of the government’s response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into high streets and town centres in 2030.

As part of its report, the committee made a range of proposals on how the government should plan for high streets to develop over the next decade.


Permitted development rights

One of the key issues raised was for government to suspend any further extension of PDRs, pending an evaluation of their impact on the high street.

“Where PDRs conflict with particular designations in the local plan or other established planning documents, councils should be given greater freedom to suspend PDRs in the affected area,” the committee said.

However, the government did not answer this request outright, but praised the positive aspects of permitted developments, suggesting that it was not likely to change the status quo.

“Permitted development rights make a valuable contribution to supporting development, by simplifying the planning process and reducing the matters that local planning authorities have to consider,” it said.

“They provide greater flexibility and freedoms to support our changing high streets and help businesses to adapt and diversify quickly to changes in consumer demands.

“Permitted development rights play a key role by allowing change of use between certain use classes, helping to ensure premises are not left empty on the high street.

“Additionally, as the committee’s report acknowledges, they make an important contribution to housing supply,” it added.

Permitted development rights have proved a hot topic, with the Labour Party suggesting it would strip back the current permitted development regime.


No financial advice from task force

The committee also requested the government’s Future High Streets Task Force should provide support to local areas on the full range of issues surrounding high streets and town centre transformation, including financial advice.

The government rejected this proposal, saying: “The task force’s remit includes to provide best practice and data and to help local places understand how their decisions and plans impact upon this.

“We do not expect the task force to be involved in providing financial advice to local authorities on commercial decisions on property; however training provided may cover how local authorities could attract investment and structure commercial decisions,” it added.


No landlord-tenant conciliation service

The government also noted it does not have any plans to set up a conciliation service for landlords and tenants at present, as requested by the committee.

Instead it was encouraging the use of existing dispute resolution services. These include two government-approved redress schemes: the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.

It emphasised that since 1 October 2014, it was a legal requirement for lettings agents and property managers to join one of these two redress schemes.

“The letting agent or property manager should arbitrate any disputes between the landlord or tenant in the first instance, and should this be unsuccessful, a complaint can be made to the redress scheme,” it said.

“The government also encourages tenants to seek independent legal advice if needed, such as through Citizens Advice.”


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