Conversion of Offices into Residential Space

MQT on 2016-01-20
Session date: 
January 20, 2016
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


On 4th November the London Assembly unanimously passed a motion urging you to Lobby the Government to withdraw its proposals regarding permitted development rights in the capital. Can you confirm your response and actions if any?


Answer for Conversion of Offices into Residential Space

Answer for Conversion of Offices into Residential Space

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I actively lobbied Government to reconsider its proposals to liberalise change of use from offices to housing prior to the announcement in October and this informed Government in extending the exemptions from the rights currently in place until May 2019. This intervention has given the time needed to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the introduction of Article 4 Directions by the relevant boroughs so that space can continue to be protected in London's nationally and internationally important business districts in London. To date two meetings have been convened with the boroughs to take this forward.

My Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance for the Central Activities Zone provides strategic context and advice on the range of evidence that can be used to support Article 4 Directions to remove the permitted development rights. My officers are currently analysing the responses to this consultation and I intend to adopt this SPG as soon as possible.

I am also concerned about the negative impact of the permitted development rights on occupied office space, business and employment in those areas not covered by the exemptions and I continue to actively monitor this in collaboration with the London boroughs. A number of London boroughs have brought forward Article 4 directions to remove the rights depending on local circumstances and I support their use where they protect strategically important office locations and can be justified by robust evidence.