Terminus House, Harlow
Terminus House, Harlow

“We are going to do everything we can to fight this” – Harlow Labour Leader responds to Tory plans to make “Terminus House Style” conversions easier, as the Government’s own report slams Permitted Development Rights

By Cllr Mark Ingall

The Tories determination to press on with the extension of permitted development rights, the Conservative legislation that brought us Terminus House, is utterly deplorable, especially as a report published today slammed the quality of many such developments.

The report found that only 22.1 per cent of dwelling units created through PD (Permitted Development) would meet the nationally described space standards, meaning that “Studio flats” measuring just 16 square metres were found in a number of different PD schemes.

Over 70 per cent of homes in PD schemes had windows that faced in only one direction, most were only one bedroom or studio apartments, 7 out of 10 couldn’t get adequate light or ventilation, many were overcrowded and none of them contribute financially to Councils to help provide the community infrastructure needed by the new residents

The report concludes:

“Permitted development conversions do seem to create worse quality residential environments than planning permission conversions in relation to a number of factors widely linked to the health, well being and quality of life of future occupiers.”

The report has led the president of the Royal British Institute of Architects to publicly state that: “The extension of this policy is truly disgraceful,” and I completely agree.

This report confirms what we have all known in Harlow for a while now, that Tory planning legislation, which has frozen out local communities and handed power to big developers, leads to poor and disastrous results.

The Government plans to press on with extending permitted development rights in September – meaning developers and big business will be able to convert even more shops, offices and commercial sites into sub-par housing without consulting local councils, communities or people.

This issue is bigger than party politics. Harlow Labour will continue to do everything we can to combat the harm caused by Permitted Development Rights, but the best course of action is for the new legislation to be revoked along with the original Permitted development legislation.  I recognise and applaud our MP for repeatedly speaking out in Westminster on the harm Permitted Development has caused Harlow, he will shortly have the opportunity to use his vote there to overturn the legislation that is being rushed through by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.

Let’s see all of Harlow’s political leaders, local and national unite in saying no to more unplanned conversions in Harlow.

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