Mayor announces new office-space protection for small business

03 June 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (Friday 3 June) announced that he will put new measures in place to help protect and expand office space for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in London. 


Sadiq Khan made the announcement following the publication of new City Hall figures which show that since 2013, over 1.47 million square metres of office space could have already been converted into residential units in London using the Government’s ‘permitted development rights’, which allows uncontrolled office-to-residential developments.  This means space for nearly 94,000 jobs in London could be lost through this process.   


The new measures the Mayor plans to put in place include:


  • Amending the London Plan so that there is stronger protection for small businesses and start-up workspace
  •  Delivering new spaces for small businesses, the creative industries, artists and the fashion industry within new residential and mixed-use developments
  • Promoting schemes to provide linked affordable housing and business space in new housing developments
  • Working with the Government on changes to permitted development rights


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:


"These new figures lay bare the impact that the Government’s misguided policies are having on space for business in London.  Of course we need new homes, but this does not need to be at the expense of the space we need for the businesses that provide our jobs and drive our prosperity. 


“Space which is genuinely surplus to commercial needs should be identified authoritatively and its release carefully managed so that it does not undermine local business. 


“As Mayor, I will be focusing on building new affordable homes on publicly and privately owned brownfield land, while changing the London Plan in order to protect viable business space and to create new start-up spaces in housing developments.


“There clearly needs to be more control over where office space can be converted to residential use.  Over the next four years, I will be working to build the thousands of affordable houses we need in London at the same time as increasing the good quality space available for small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs.   This is just one of the many pro-business measures I’ll be setting out in the coming months.”

Notes to editors

New City Hall data:


Permission Financial Year

Sum of Residential units from offices

Sum of Net B1a Floorspace (Square Metres lost)

























Grand Total















Under permitted development rights:


Permission Financial Year

Sum of Residential units from offices

Sum of Net B1a Floorspace (Square mts lost)










Grand Total




  • There is approximately 1.5 million square meters of office floorspace that could potentially be lost in prior approvals. Using the assumption of one job per 16 square metres, this equates to space for 93,750 jobs.  Based on occupancy data provided by London boroughs on prior approvals up to 31st March 2015, 38 per cent of these would have been fully occupied at the time consent was requested, representing 35,600 jobs.  A further 18 per cent are recorded as part occupied.


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