Planner warns government plans risk losing London office space

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GLA planner John Lett speaking to London Assembly Planning Committee

UP TO a quarter of London’s office space could be lost because of government plans, a top planner at City Hall has warned.

The Department for Communities and Local Government published plans earlier this year that would allow offices to be turned in to residential properties without the need for planning permission.

Speaking before the London Assembly’s Planning Committee on Tuesday of this week, the Greater London Authority’s chief planner John Lett said the scheme would place 4 million square metres of office space in the London at risk.

Speaking against the move away from planning-led development, he said the transition of “useful employment units”, when they had had “come to the end of their useful life” needed to be “managed very carefully.”

Michael Bach from the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies used to work for the government in planning and told the committee that “this is one of the worst-designed policy proposals I’ve ever seen because it’s being rushed in with very little evidence base.”

Local authorities have been offered the opportunity to opt out of the changes where they can justify the exemption on economic grounds.

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