London to lose over 1 million sq metres of office space

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LONDON will lose over a million square metres of office space as a result of planning changes introduced by the Government, claim Labour London Assembly members.

Data from the London Development Database shows that between May 2013 and March 2015 there were over 2,800 proposals to convert office space in to residential property under the permitted development rights.

The 2000 applications already approved represent a loss office space to residential which is the equivalent of 153 football pitches.

The Department for Communities and Local Government introduced temporary Permitted Development rights in 2013 which allows offices to be converted to homes without planning permission.

In 2015, those temporary rights were made permanent, with Housing Minister Brandon Lewis commenting: “[the] measures will mean we can tap into the potential of underused buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers and families long into the future, breathing new life into neighbourhoods and at the same time protecting our precious green belt.”

Back in 2013, GLA Planner John Lett warned that the relaxation placed four million square metres of office space at risk.

Commenting on the new research, Labour’s London Assembly Planning Spokesperson, Nicky Gavron AM, said:

“Seeing businesses turfed out of offices and other employment spaces across the capital will do nothing to help London’s economy. Nor will allowing developers to ride roughshod over planning standards solve London’s housing crisis.

“Yes, we need to solve the housing crisis but this isn’t the way to do it. What this policy does is rob local communities of an opportunity to deliver the developments suitable to their neighbourhoods and result in tiny sub-standard housing which fails to serve the needs of Londoners.”

Related: Find London Office Space

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