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  • Author or Editor: Richard J. Dunning x
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It is widely reported that since the latter decades of the 20th century, there has been an annual shortfall in the number of new homes constructed relative to housing demand. The planning system has often been accused of being the primary cause of this shortage by governments of different political complexions. It is blamed for restricting housing supply and increasing house prices, and for acting as a drag on the free market delivering housing. Yet, it is not clear that planning is the root cause of these problems, and planning is rarely celebrated for its achievements in enabling the nation’s housing. We frame changes in planning policy that have occurred since 2010 in light of longer-term housing trends in England to ask whether state planning for housing has failed.

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The extension of permitted development rights to make the conversion of buildings to residential use easier presents a typical example of the faith in deregulation as a pathway towards aligning development with demand. But what have been the impacts of this experimentation? Has it resulted in good-quality housing? And what might be the impacts of any extension of such rights on residential quality? This chapter explores the impact of permitted development, with a particular focus on neighbourhood health, providing new evidence of the problematic assumption that housing should be allowed regardless of local amenities and the built environment context of existing buildings.

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