IHBC features ‘Heritage  from the PDR-step’ 2: Reading BC wants to make it harder to create new flats in the town centre

New homes could be banned from being built in converted restaurants and shops, as Reading Borough Council (BC) considers that proposed changes to planning under Permitted Development Rights (PDRs), could threaten essential local shops, services and affordable housing etc.

… PDR homes are often of poor quality…. wholly inappropriate as a place to live…

GetReading writes:

Reading Borough Council is considering removing certain permitted development rights (PDR), which allow some applications to be made without planning permission….

The council says PDR homes are often of poor quality and rarely provided with essential private or communal outdoor space and can result in residents being introduced to areas which are wholly inappropriate as a place to live, for reasons such as noise and disturbance.

Other concerns from the council include the loss of essential local shops and services that are turned into flats, and the loss of affordable housing (estimated 586 on-site affordable homes and £3.64 million) and infrastructure contributions (estimated £2.17 million towards education and open space).

Reading Borough Council is proposing to change the rules so the following applications, which can currently be made without seeking planning permission, would need a full planning permission application in large parts of Reading:

  • Change of use from commercial, business and service use (use class E) to residential
  • Change of use from hot food takeaway, betting office, payday loan shop or launderette to residential
  • Change of use from casino or amusement arcade to residential
  • Demolition of single, purpose built, detached block of flats or a single, detached office, light industrial or research and development building and its replacement with a detached block of flats or detached house
  • Up to two additional residential storeys on a detached commercial or mixed-use building (in use for retail, financial and professional, restaurant and café, office, research and development, light industrial, betting shop, payday loan shop, launderette)
  • Up to two additional residential storeys on a two-or-more-storey terraced commercial or mixed-use building or one additional storey on a one storey building

The council is seeking to do this under Article 4 of the GPDO, which allows a local authority to remove PDR subject to 12 months’ notice, consultation and approval by the Secretary of State.

The council wants to limit this embargo to the following areas:

  • The entire town centre
  • District and local centres
  • Core employment areas
  • Other primarily commercial or retail locations
  • Areas with the poorest levels of air quality

The Secretary of State must be notified about any Article 4 direction and has powers to modify and cancel directions.

Any proposal to put an Article 4 direction in place will need to be accompanied by clear evidence to show the harm that results from the PDR.

The proposed plans are in response to a series of Government changes to planning legislation in recent years which have made it easier to convert buildings into flats and build flats on top of buildings.

Read more….

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