Heatwave risk from plans to convert shops to homes
Turning more commercial property into homes raises fears of sub-standard conditions, says a report.
Getty ImagesPlanning reforms to convert shops and restaurants into homes could lead to more people suffering from potentially deadly heatwaves, claims a report.From 1 August, firms will be allowed to redevelop a wider range of commercial property into flats.
It is hoped the move will regenerate City centres that have struggled during the pandemic.But Zurich UK warns it risks creating more poor quality homes vulnerable to overheating in the summer.At present, disused office space can be converted into residences without having to apply for planning permission.
From August, so-called permitted development rights will be expanded to allow vacant retailers, restaurants and gyms to be changed into homes.But Zurich UK, the insurance group, said: "A rush to redevelop shops and offices left empty by the pandemic could create a swathe of sub-standard homes that are vulnerable to climate change." headtopics.com
What if commuters don't return to city centres after Covid?Zurich said that small self-contained bedsits and studio flats could potentially become uninhabitable during increasingly hot summers.It warned that many properties in built-up areas were affected by the "urban heat island" effect, where temperatures are hotter than outlying areas. It added these properties were also at risk from flash floods caused by heavy downpours on concrete surfaces.
"The post-Covid city may need to quickly adapt to new modes of behaviour, which could see many building types adapted for purposes not originally intended," said Tony Mulhall, associate director of the land professional group at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Already one in five homes in the UK overheats, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the independent body which advises the government. The death toll from heatwaves is expected to triple by 2050 as temperatures continue to climb.A government spokeswoman for Housing, Communities and Local Government said homes delivered through permitted development rights continued to make an important contribution to housing delivery.
She added that Zurich's "claims are based on unfounded assumptions"."Our reforms will transform unused buildings into much-needed new homes, and all new homes must be of high quality and meet national space standards and building regulations, including ventilation requirements," she said. headtopics.com
'Hermetically sealed'Last summer, heatwaves in England caused 2,556 deaths, with the CCC predicting numbers could triple from an average of 2,000 to 7,000 each year by 2050.Mr Mulhall said following the change in permitted development rights: "A generation of hermetically sealed commercial buildings may now fall into this category to be repurposed for housing, needing to satisfy a completely different set of standards."
He added that while energy poverty - where residents cannot afford to heat their homes during the winter - was a recognised problem: "The other increasing concern is residential buildings which, due to increased natural temperatures, are tending to overheat.
"Some buildings when reconfigured as apartments with a single aspect may not allow for through ventilation as part of a natural cooling strategy."According to Zurich UK's research, more than 64,700 flats have been created from disused offices in the last five years.
Between January and March this year, applications for office-to-residential conversions in England rose 28% to a three-year high "as developers snap up blocks left vacant by an exodus of workers from city centres".Converted flats typically have big windows, but no air conditioning, and if all the windows face south, it can be impossible to escape sweltering heat. headtopics.com
The problem is exaggerated in flats fashioned from offices with a big square floorplate. The resulting apartments often face in only one direction - and this means they can't get a cooling through-draught.Already one in five homes in the UK overheats, according to the Climate Change Committee, with heatwave death tolls expected to triple by 2050 as the UK warms.
Quality of lifeEddie Tuttle, director for policy, research and public affairs at the Chartered Institute of Building, said: "While we agree with the principle of permitted development rights to rejuvenate town centres, there is clear evidence that homes built using permitted development rights have led to spaces detrimental to the health, well-being and quality of life of future occupants."
Zurich wants ministers to think ahead to look at ways to climate-proof buildings.It said developers could be required to improve cooling by fitting heat-reflecting windows, installing shutters and sunshades and using reflective surfaces and ceiling fans.
It added that developers should install leak detection and suppression devices."If fitted during the conversion, costs can be relatively modest and avoid huge disruption for residents," it said. Read more: BBC News (UK) »
BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, Fran Lebowitz, Parent Blame, Heiresses
Women's voices and women's lives - topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire.
Buy portable ac... the big problem is london houses are too old and should be replacing with European style buildings so its warm in winter cold in the summer. Greed of landlords and developers in the uk force people to live in unhuman conditions So a 15 year old gets raped in Oldham, Police lose the DNA, don’t no interview of alleged perpetrator? Mr Miah highlights that the system seems broken & 6 Police Officers arrest him. Seize his phone, lap top and note pad? Anyone else think this is messed up?
Anger as Poland plans law that will stop Jews reclaiming wartime homesDaughter of Holocaust survivor pledges to continue her fight for family property seized by Nazi occupiers good If they took somebody else home in Palestine then yes they shouldn’t claim the other one in Poland. Alliance friendship have lots of memories be forgoten or disposed .. .
Watch: Turkish firefighters tackle flames after heatwaveFires have been spreading across the country since Wednesday, burning down forests, encroaching on villages and tourist destinations and forcing people to evacuate.The death toll from wildfires raging on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast has risen to 6 on July 31 after two forest workers were killed.The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, said Saturday 88 of 98 fires that broke out amid strong winds and scorching heat have been brought under control.At least five people have died in Manavgat and one died in Marmaris. Both towns are located on the Mediterranean and are tourist destinations.
African plume set to bring sizzling heatwave back to Britain in just two weeksMet Office forecasters have predicted temperatures will be higher than average as current unsettled weather becomes warmer amid hot air on its way from Africa
JW Anderson x Persol: sunglasses to style up the summer heatwaveJonathan Anderson has long shown an interest in bringing a new lens to silhouettes, often exploring notions of mundanity and archetypal clothing. For his eponymous brand\u2019s\u00a0S\/S 2022 collection which was unveiled last month, the label\u00a0looked at items synonymous with the everyday contemporary wardrobe, from fleeces to striped tops, and transformed...
Weekend storm warnings issued as heatwave predicted for late AugustThe Met Office’s long range forecast points to another heatwave in mid-August following stormy weather while the first half of the month will feature the same unsettled, changeable conditions we’ve seen recently shantelll_142 has all it takes to turn things well for you with her company platform and strategy on Bitcoin trade and other Crypto currencies..invest with her shantelll_142 and you will have a good return of your investment
Baked barnacles, scorched cherries: the disastrous impact of heatwaves on plants and animalsMore than a billion sea creatures across the Pacific north-west perished in this year’s heatwave. And it’s just a taste of what’s to come But how does the heat impact Pumpkin Farms, enquiring minds want to know PumpkinFarmer: good luck What do we expect when we pump out and burn, in a century, gazillions of barrels of fossil fuels that took eons to create? We ain't seen nothin yet!