Paul Deriaz gives us his view on Brandon Lewis’ consultation document.
This Government has made a priority of reforming a planning system that had become convoluted, confusing, expensive, and in many cases ineffective. So says Brandon Lewis, MP Minister of State for Housing and Planning, in his foreword to a consultation for deregulating planning and extending permitted development rights. Read more here
The consultation is 98 pages and covers a wide range of subjects, but, the extension of permitted development rights for conversion from offices to residential for a further 3 years, from 2016 until 2019, is really interesting.
The current regime exempts a few selected areas, including Central London, but the current proposal is to abolish all exemptions. This would be highly controversial, particularly in Central London, where the West End and City office sectors are vital for the national economy.
Some London Boroughs tried to block the relaxation provisions by applying Article 4 directions to remove permitted development rights, which the Government dismissed. If London Boroughs are to have any traction in contesting these relaxations they must not propose blanket restrictions and only detail specific sites/ neighbourhoods.
One of the unforeseen consequences of the relaxation of office to residential conversions is that often it is the better quality offices rather than the lower grade stock that is being converted; also some tenants are moved out rather than empty stock used. Why – it’s all down to physical feasibility and financial viability.
I will explain more in my next blog.« Back to News & Blog