DCLG continues to bring forward one-size-fits-all planning reforms with perverse consequences in London. Permitted office to residential change of use affects the delicate balance between the delivery of much needed housing and the protection of employment space. As the focus moves away from jobs towards houses, thousands of jobs are being displaced and potentially lost.
There is a real danger that sub-standard and ugly housing will result. The quality of much of this residential accommodation could be so poor that it will depress market values and supress housing delivery. This reform is getting in the way of genuinely balanced and comprehensive regeneration of London’s town centres.
Without jobs a city is nothing
Cue the announcement by George Osborne in February that the Treasury is bringing forward its own planning reforms. In collaboration with Mayor Johnson, these reforms are part of its long term Economic Plan for London. The details are being finalised but we should expect:
relaxation of controls on domestic extensions (the only way is up!)
the ability of the Mayor to recover all applications for 50 plus houses taking longer than 16 weeks to determine
delegation to the Mayor and probable relaxation of strategic views thus freeing up significant development opportunities
we might even see a London wide exemption on office to residential change of use permitted development rights.