The G15 responds to 'Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure' consultation

  • 3 February 2021

The G15 welcomes ways to increase the supply of housing, such as the Government’s proposal to accelerate the process of repurposing commercial spaces when there is a surplus of retail floorspace. This is as long as quality standards around building safety and design are properly enforced through the prior approval process.

We're in favour of policy reforms that ensure additional housing is provided in the right places, and that should include the provision of much needed affordable housing.

Recognising that the high street has been suffering since long before the coronavirus outbreak – and that in some cases the decrease in local retail has been a structural phenomenon over the last decade – we agree that bringing empty spaces into a different use might partly alleviate the issue of decline. Potentially, housing has a role to play in reimagining our town centres and, given the pervading housing crisis we are currently witnessing, it is reasonable to assume that conversions to residential can contribute to increased housing supply in our cities.

But we have concerns about the proposals, as they currently stand, particularly the lack of any reference to potential contribution the permitted development rights (PDR) route should make towards affordable housing. Furthermore, we are concerned over the impact of a widespread recourse to permitted development rights on the National Planning Policy Framework’s requirement to achieve healthy, inclusive and safe places with the mix of housing, amenities, facilities and services a community needs.

View our full response