New planning laws have caused an increase in inappropriate developments

A number of MPs have said the Government’s flagship planning laws have led to “inappropriate and unwanted” building developments across the UK.

Members of the Communities and Local Government Committee have called on the Government to scrap rules in its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that allow shops and offices to be converted into homes without planning permission.

The introduction of the new framework in April 2012 was aimed at speeding up the planning process and was expected to increase the number of homes in areas where they were most needed.

However, MPs on the committee have said that it needs to be amended to ensure the framework did “the job it was intended to do”.

They said that changes were urgently needed to ensure that the same weight was “given to the environmental and social as to the economic dimension”.

Speaking during the meeting, Committee chairman Clive Betts added: “Councils must do more to protect their communities against the threat of undesirable development by moving quickly to get an adopted local plan in place.”

The committee said the government needed to scale back permitted development, which allows shops and banks to become homes without any planning permission.

“It is too random and is hollowing out the commercial heart of our town centres. Councils have to be able to plan strategically for the future,” Mr Betts added.

The NPPF had seen planning permission for 240,000 homes in the past year, but has caused problems for local services and businesses operating next to converted properties.


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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.