Councillors in Basildon are divided over whether the government should scrap planning rules that allow offices and industrial buildings to be converted into homes without planning permission - known as permitted developments.What are the issues, then?
Basildon Labour party leader Gavin Callaghan said: “I am of the opinion that reforms are needed to make this work.
“In theory permitted developments are a good idea and can expedite the process of getting more homes built and more people onto the property or private rented ladder.
“However, in practice they put huge pressures on local infrastructure. For example, the increased traffic flows around Cherrydown East and Cherrydown West and the bowl car park near the station from the Trafford House development, was never properly accounted for.
“Under the current scheme, we cannot hand on heart say that the road, rail or public service infrastructure will be in place to cope with large scale changes from office blocks to residential housing units. Added to that is a question about what this does to the culture of a community.
“If an area of the town is earmarked for commercial office units but becomes residential housing because that’s more profitable for the landlord, then the foundations of our economic development and commercial offers to business, is immediately undermined.”Well, well, well. Someone's a gamer! And...someone's not:
Tory deputy council leader Kevin Blake said: “A conversion like Trafford House in Basildon has been very successful and has brought in income to the town centre.
“Providing a conversion is done in a nice way, with a good design I don’t see why we shouldn’t build on these sites.
“I don’t see why there would be an issue relating to this as there are far bigger things to worry about. Developers should of course be ensuring that they look at infrastructure, parking and greenery.”They don't make money on those, so why would they?