Windowless 'cells' for rent spark fears of 'modern slums'

Windowless 'cells' for rent spark fears of 'modern slums': Developers exploit loophole to convert empty shops into flats the size of shipping containers New developments sparked concerns UK high streets turning into modern slums Impact of Covid-19 has led to flood of businesses being turned into tiny flats PDR flats are not bound by the minimum space standard of 398 square feet

By Sophie Tanno For Mailonline

Published: 14:39 BST, 6 September 2020 | Updated: 14:40 BST, 6 September 2020

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Developers are exploiting planning laws to convert empty shops, banks and barbers into tiny high street flats.

The new developments have sparked concerns that UK high streets are turning into modern slums. 

The impact of the coronavirus on high-street businesses have resulted in a rush to transform them into residences under permitted development rights (PDRs).

Chloe Gray, a 20-year-old resident of one of the flats, said it felt like 'living in a pod'. Converted flats on Shirley Road pictured above

Chloe Gray, a 20-year-old resident of one of the flats, said it felt like 'living in a pod'. Converted flats on Shirley Road pictured above

PDRs were until recently mainly used to convert office spaces but are now being used to transform former businesses into small flats. 

Since 2013, they have allowed developers to skip the requirement to apply for planning permission when turning office blocks into flats.  

They were extended to shops and launderettes in 2016, before also including fast food outlets last year. 

PDR flats are not bound by the minimum

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