The Bartlett School of Planning


UCL Permitted Development Housing Study

Investigating Potential Health Impacts Of Planning Deregulation: The Case Of Permitted Development In England

Image of New Horizons Court building

1 April 2024


Research study investigating housing that is located in a building converted from a previous commercial use, such as offices that are now flats. We are working with our study participants to help us understand how this housing impacts residents’ health and wellbeing and how best to manage such existing properties and govern the development of conversions in future.  This research fills a vital gap in existing work to consider the health impacts and inequalities associated with permitted development (PD) housing in England. This will inform wider policy debate about whether deregulating urban planning supports healthier places.  The factors influencing housing quality are complex and multifaceted, but certainly include the regulatory processes associated with urban planning.

This project runs from March 2023 to February 2026.

People and collaborators


Professor Ben Clifford (Lead PI), The Bartlett School of Planning
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Nadia Elsay, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Mina Sufineyestani, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Anna Mavrogianni, The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources
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Dr Eleni Oikenomou, The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources
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Michael Davies, The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources
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Dr Daniel Zapeda-Rivas, The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources
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Helen Pineo, The University of Washington
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Professor Rob Aldridge, Institute of Health Informatics
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Julia Thrift, TCPA
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Dr Rosalie Callway, TCPA
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Sally Roscone, TCPA
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Jo Brown, TCPA

Dan Bleksley, TCPA

Stephan Morrison, TCPA

Dr James Milner, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
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Visit the TCPA website

Visit the Groundswell website

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
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National Institute for Health and Care Research
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  1. A national dataset identifying the location of completed PD housing.
  2. A linked high-resolution housing and health dataset.
  3. Journal articles comparing the all-cause and cause-specific admissions and mortality in the PD and control group.


  1. A dataset of PD housing characteristics compiled from survey, interviews and environmental assessment.
  2. Journal article of the health needs of populations living in PD housing combining survey and interview data.


  1. Dataset of indoor environmental conditions in PD homes and validated dynamic building performance models.
  2. Journal articles on the comparative indoor environmental exposures in PD housing and on the impact of climate change.


  1. Assessment (model/report) on the health economic evaluation of permitted development.
  2. Assessment (model/report) of the cost-benefit of selected adjustments to planning regulation.
  3. Journal article on combined modelling of health impacts and cost-benefit of potential interventions to improve public health.


  1. Review of the current policy context on best practice in spatial planning, public health and the governance of PD housing.
  2. Briefing for central government summarising impact of PD on healthy place making objectives.
  3. Guidance and workshops for local government on securing higher design quality in PD housing to improve public health.
Related links

Visit the UCL Permitted Development (PD) Housing website
These are Homes – TCPA photobook of PD conversions in London and the South East, TCPA (2023)
Planning in England: permitted development and change of use - House of Commons Library (parliament.uk) (2021)
Research into the quality standard of homes delivered through change of use permitted development rights (publishing.service.gov.uk), UCL (2020)
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Photo by Nadia Elsay