New housing development plans face opposition from local councils

According to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) local councils may start to impose restrictions in order to halt the development of new housing.

Following the government’s introduction of new measures in May 2013, to allow redundant office space to be converted into new homes, the RLA has voiced concerns that local councils may fight the change.

It has been reported that councils are planning to use ‘Article 4 direction’ powers to protect their office space.

The ‘Article 4 direction’ can be used to impose planning permission restrictions on a particular site.

David Smith, RLA Policy Director, said: “With the sector expected to account for 25% of UK households by 2025, it is vital that the planning system does not put unnecessary obstacles in the way of landlords seeking to meet this demand.

“The Government’s intentions are clear and local authorities should not seek to thwart them.

“Instead, councils have an opportunity to show themselves to be willing partners in delivering the mix of homes their communities need.”

‘Article 4 direction’ has been used historically when concern has arisen about the negative impact a development might have on the character of an area, particularly a conservation area.

An announcement from Richmond Council last week outlined its intention to further extend planning restrictions to prevent developers from converting office space into residential use without planning permission.

Councilor Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, Business and Community, said: “This council continues to be extremely concerned about the new permitted development rights introduced by the government.”

“Without these planning controls we are already losing valuable employment space, and with it, jobs.

“Supporting our local economy is at the heart of what we do at the council.”