Local councils have criticised the scheme to tackle the housing crisis by converting offices to homes, saying it should be scrapped. Commenting on this, Mishcon de Reya's Head of Planning, Anita Rivera, said:
"The question local planning authorities should be asking themselves (in relation to the use of permitted development rights for office to residential use) is whether some element of housing – in the absence of affordable housing - is better than no housing at all, particularly where there is such a critical housing shortage. These permitted development rights can and have been excluded by local planning authorities through the use of Article 4 directions and planning conditions where it is necessary to protect the viability and vitality of town centres. They are also subject to prior approval of the Local Planning Authority in respect of flooding, contamination, highways and transport issues and impact of noise from nearby commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the housing development. A balance must be struck between providing homes, ensuring they are fit for purpose, and loss of potential planning gain."