The Labour Party has said it would scrap a government scheme that lets offices and industrial buildings to be converted into homes without the necessary planning permission.
The party said this should be the end of”slum housing and rabbit hutch flats”.
It also said that property developers had been able to avoid building affordable homes.
On the other side, Conservatives said the new plans would “cut house building and put a stop to people achieving home ownership”.
In 2013, the government changed rules to allow property developers to develop certain buildings into residential blocks without getting permission from the local council, in a bid to boost house building and profit obviously.
The rules have since been relaxed even further leading to 42,000 new dwellings being created from former offices in the last few years alone. However, the new permitted development schemes are currently exempt from official space standards and also from any requirement to provide affordable new homes.Labour’s policy was still to build 250,000 new homes a year in England with 100,000 being “genuinely affordable” for people.
“This Conservative housing free-for-all gives developers a free hand to build what they want but ignore what local communities need,” remarked John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary. “Labour will give local people control over the housing that gets built in their area and ensure developers build the low-cost, high-quality homes that the country needs.”
Some critics say the schemes can be damaging to residents’ mental wellbeing, as well as being miles from needed facilities. Some developers warn that without permitted development many office to residential schemes would no longer be viable at all in the current climate.
The government have said that the rules are helping tackle the housing crisis and allowing people to get on the housing ladder, but this is disputed.
There were 13,526 homes built under ‘permitted development’ last year, most being outside London.
Marcus Jones, who is Conservative vice-chair for Local Government, remarked: “Labour’s plans would cut house building and put a stop to people achieving home ownership.
“We are backing permitted development rights, which are converting dormant offices into places families can call home.
“Whilst Labour put politics before our families, the Conservatives are delivering the houses this country needs”