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Lambeth Council launches judicial review over office-to-resi

Lambeth Council has become the second London borough to launch a legal challenge against the new office-to-resi permitted development rules

The council has begun judicial review procedures against communities secretary Eric Pickles in a bid to overturn the contentious planning shake-up.

The south London authority called for Brixton town centre, Streatham town centre, and the borough’s key industrial business areas to be exempt from the relaxed planning rules, raising concerns that turning offices into flats in these areas could harm the local economy.

Pete Robbins, Lambeth cabinet member for housing and regeneration, said: ‘Landlords in Brixton and Streatham have been handed a free reign to turn offices into flats – it’s simply unacceptable.

‘The new regulations could harm trade in these key areas and raise the prospect of job losses, lost business rates and reduced funding for infrastructure.’

The council has also criticised the lack of transparency around deciding the handful of areas which were granted exemption from the changes.

Robbins added: ‘Based on the information provided, it is impossible to understand how the Government could have exempted residential areas in places such as Kensington and Chelsea, while ignoring the value to our local economy of Brixton and Streatham.’

Back in May, the government announced the 17 councils which had been successful in securing exemption for all or part of their boroughs from the controversial changes.

Lambeth was unsuccessful in its bid for 31 areas, including Brixton and Streatham to be granted exemption.

Last month, the London Borough of Islington also applied for a judicial review to overturn office-to-resi permitted development rights.

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