The issue of permitted development rights (PDR) resurfaces every time the London housing crisis is mentioned, which seems to be every other week.
What has been clear for some time is that the need for new homes in our capital stems from a lack of supply. PDR is an equally clear answer. It allows for the fast redevelopment of buildings and aims to reduce the amount of red tape developers face in tackling this ongoing problem.
The mayor has recently spoken out about protecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by cracking down on PDR in London, but this seems like a backward step.
PDR offers a much-needed opportunity for councils to attract investment, provide an economic boost to their areas and facilitate new homes.
New developments not only attract jobs but they can also lead to increased investment in the wider area, bringing a ‘feel-good’ factor to the community.
PDR is a quick-fix solution to build new homes in old buildings, but it is limited by the number of properties that are available - and these are fast running out. London needs a ‘game changer’. The big housebuilders are failing to show any signs of doing things differently but instead continue with a ‘business as usual’ approach that simply won’t provide an answer to the crisis in the near future.
Developers such as Inspired Homes want to help tackle the crisis but we need assistance from policymakers to do so. And that starts with a relaxation of space standards.
If space standards were reduced, developers could substantially increase the housing supply - even double their output. Inspired Homes is designing apartments in an intelligent way to maximise space.
Removing hallways, which can take up to a third of a property’s floorspace, can deliver homes with a lighter, more spacious feel.
In building smaller homes, we are unlocking access for young Londoners in up-and-coming areas such as Croydon.
Until now, these millennials have been shut out of the market but our micro-apartment model offers a solution to the issues around supply and demand in the capital.
Our business model brings home ownership in London to within reach of more people who, until now, couldn’t afford even to dream of it. It also helps to create thriving communities, improving the neighbourhoods in which we operate.
London needs to become more attractive for developers and more accessible for younger buyers. Until space standards are relaxed, we will not see any progress in tackling the housing crisis in this city.
Martin Skinner is chief executive of Inspired Asset Management and Inspired Homes