Conservatives promise to extend rules allowing offices to be converted until 2020 as part of new planning measures
The office-to-resi planning rules, which were due to expire in 2016, would be extended as part of a raft of new planning measures announced by the Tories
The new planning policy announcement also included plans to allow people to build larger extensions and will ask local councils to help people find plots of land to build their own homes. A private members bill regarding more help for those looking to build their own homes is currently making its way through parliament.
Demand for office space is at its highest this century. However, supply of new space hit a new low last year, with only 12.9 million sq ft available. Several London boroughs have sought exemptions from permitted development, or attempted to block office-to-residential conversions, fearing such conversions would negatively impact local employment.
The City of London has vociferously opposed the plans, stating that they form a threat to the commercial heart of the City.
Speaking about the plans Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps MP said: ‘We are determined to get Britain building again, so that more people can find a good quality, affordable home. We want common sense on home extensions too, so families aren’t crushed by expensive red tape.
‘For home extensions and conservatories, as long as your neighbours are happy, a Conservative government will always give you the right to build, without old-fashioned regulations getting in the way.’
The temporary permitted development right allowing developers to convert offices into homes without having to apply to local planning authorities for full permission first, was introduced by the coalition government in May 2013.