The Bartlett School of Planning


Dr Ben Clifford speaks to The Guardian about office to residential permitted development

2 January 2020

BSP's Dr Ben Clifford speaks to The Guardian about one of the office to residential conversions he visited while carrying out RICS research

Reliance House by Tom Wall
Photograph: Tom Wall


In May 2018 a team led by Ben Clifford, working with Jessica Ferm, Nicola Livingstone and Patricia Canelas (all from the Bartlett School of Planning), published research with RICS which assessed the imapacts of extending permitted development rights to office-to-residential change of use in England. Utilising an in-depth case study approach, the research sought to determine whether enhanced freedom to change the use of property has threatened the development of sustainable communities through the loss of public revenue and unwelcome externalities.

The Guardian visited the Reliance House, an office to residential conversion in Liverpool and interviewed housing professionals, tenants and BSP's Dr Clifford. The plans from the developer, Legacie Developments, show that many taking up residence in Reliance House have little or no natural light. Quoted in The Guardian, Dr Clifford said that “It would only have a poor level of light through the windows provided and no proper view of the outside world from their flats,”.

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