London has lost more than 1 million square metres of business space under planning rules making it easier to convert offices into homes, according to research by the Labour Party
Figures compiled by Labour’s London Assembly planning spokesperson Nicky Gavron said that space – equivalent to 150 large football pitches – already has permission for conversion.
The government announced last week that it would make the process allowing such changes permanent from 6 April, after a three year temporary implementation.
Gavron 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.’
She said the policy was likely to result in ‘tiny, sub-standard’ housing and threatened residents with having to move or lose their jobs.
Gavron said: ‘Vast swathes of London office space are likely to be wiped out under this flawed policy. It is baffling that the mayor isn’t fighting these changes.’
Analysis of data from the London Development Database showed that, between May 2013 and March 2015, there were 2,806 proposals to convert office space into residential property under the permitted development rights.
With over 2,000 applications already approved, approximately 1,094,550m² of floor space will be lost in the capital.
The government has also announced that exemptions currently enjoyed from the policy by inner London boroughs will be removed from 2019.