The recent Appeal Decision which allowed the conversion of an industrial building into housing with windowless flats, has attracted widespread condemnation within the industry.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) (“GPDO”) permits development consisting of the change of use of a building within Class B1(c) (light industrial) to residential. The provisions of the GPDO require the decision makers to solely assess the impact of the proposed development in relation to limited considerations provided within the regulations such as (inter alia) highways, contamination, flooding.

The GDPO was introduced by the Government as a trial in in 2013 and made permanent in 2016. The intention being to reduce bureaucracy and encourage more housing delivery. The result however has often meant the delivery of substandard residential accommodation and in this case on inappropriate industrial sites.

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While the Housing Secretary has promised that the government will review the quality of accommodation produced under the GDPO, it will be interesting to see what form this will take in subsequent amendments to the regulations.

Whilst there is an urgent need for more housing and a requirement to speed up the decision-making process, this cannot be at the expense of quality of accommodation and a positive, healthy living environment.

At GIA, we are working with local authorities and the GLA to develop the considerations when assessing daylight and sunlight matters particularly within urban areas. The ambition is to help simplify the technical element and help decision makers understand what an impact beyond the BRE Guidelines really means.

By producing specialist apps like the example shown here, we are able to streamline and demystify the subject matter, we remove uncertainty and allow for better and more informed judgements and ultimately a speedier decision.

For more information about our services or to book a CPD on Daylight and Sunlight please contact