Revealed: More than 300 homes built under relaxed planning application rules in Havering are unaffordable

PUBLISHED: 07:12 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:49 12 June 2019

It has been revealed that more than 300 homes in Havering, built under relaxed rules are unaffordable. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

It has been revealed that more than 300 homes in Havering, built under relaxed rules are unaffordable. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

A London Assembly member is calling for a “flawed” housing policy to be scrapped after it was revealed that none of the homes built in Havering under relaxed planning applications rules were affordable.

Data from the mayor's office revealed that of the 315 homes that have been built in Havering under the relaxed conversion to residential rules since 2013, none were affordable.

Permitted Development Rights were introduced in England in 1995 and they allow certain changes to be made to a building without requiring full permission from the local planning authority.

London Assembly Member, Tom Copley, said: "This flawed government policy is hampering the efforts being made to tackle the acute housing crisis faced by Havering.

"Permitted Development doesn't offer a solution to housing shortfall, it just forces families into sub-standard, rabbit-hutch homes."

In May 2013, legislation came into force which allowed for the conversion of offices to residential units without full planning permission.

The conversions are also exempt from having to adhere to minimum space standards laid down by the government.

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According to the New London Plan, London requires 65,000 new homes a year, with 65per cent of these needing to be affordable.

However, of the 15,929 homes built across the capital through permitted development conversions since 2013, only 71 were affordable - accounting for just 0.4pc.

"Government plans to further extend Permitted Development Rights are extremely concerning and could lay the groundwork for the slums of the future," said Mr Copley.

"Planning standards have been put in place for a reason, and our priority should be to build the thousands of genuinely affordable and decent quality homes that Londoners need.

"All the evidence suggests that the government need to scrap this policy as a matter of urgency."

With 2,727 permitted development homes built in Croydon since 2013, it's the London borough that has had the highest number of homes built under the relaxed conversion to residential rules.

Of that total, just 68 were listed as being affordable.

The data also revealed that Redbridge has had 371 permitted development homes built since 2013 and none of them were listed as affordable.
Councillor Damian White, leader of Havering Council, said: "This is just a tiny part of the story of what's really happening in Havering. This report fails to recognise the large number of truly affordable homes that Havering Council is building for local people.

"Together with our three joint venture partners we are undertaking some of the most ambitious home building programmes in London. It will see us double our existing social housing stock, and increase the number of genuinely affordable homes for local people across the borough."

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