Robert Jenrick

PDR homes required to meet space standards to stop developers 'abusing the system'

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that all new homes delivered through permitted development rights (PDR) must meet the nationally described space standard.

This begins at 37m² of floorspace for a new one-bed flat with a shower room (39m² with a bathroom), ensuring proper living space for a single occupier.

The change builds on reforms introduced by the government last summer to ensure that all new homes delivered through PDR provide adequate natural light.

“Permitted development rights are helping to deliver new homes and making an important contribution to our economic recovery from the pandemic, supporting our high streets by encouraging the regeneration of disused buildings and boosting our housing industry to safeguard the jobs of builders, plumbers and electricians,” said Jenrick.

“The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of having somewhere secure and comfortable to live.

“While most developers deliver good homes and do the right thing, I’m tackling the minority of developers abusing the system by announcing that new homes delivered will have to meet space standards.”

Brian Berry, chief executive at FMB, said: “The introduction of new space standards will stop the creation of homes unfit for human habitation. 

“Everyone deserves the right to a decent home and I’m grateful that the housing secretary has listened to the calls from a range of organisations, including the FMB, and that a loophole for unscrupulous builders has now been closed. 

“No one should be expected to live in a ‘rabbit hutch’ home.”

Through the new PDR, existing buildings can be changed into homes without the need to go through a full planning application.

Instead, the properties are consented through a ‘prior approval’ process, speeding up the delivery.

Last month, the government set out its plans to overhaul the outdated planning system, including new measures to place beauty and design quality at the heart of new development.

Under the new system, communities will be engaged at the beginning of the planning process to shape design codes that ensure new developments are in keeping with the architectural identity and standards of their area.

This includes the government consulting on homes delivered through PDR being covered by the new local design codes.

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