Office Space Conversion Detrimental to London

The plans by Chancellor George Osborne to change planning laws to make it easier for office space buildings to be converted into residential property in Central London are a bad idea, at least in the opinion of the City Planning Officer for the Corporation of London, Peter Rees. Rees says that Osborne’s planned changes to planning laws, which were announced two months ago back in March, could seriously compromise the ability of London to both attract and be able to house new companies.

Osborne wants to cut the “red tape” and allow space that has been designated for use as industrial, storage or office space to be converted into residential homes more easily, but Rees believes that such a move would make leading business districts face an inability to expand to cope with new business growth.

“While the government’s ambition of supporting economic growth and increasing housing stocks is laudable, the consultation on relaxing planning laws for the conversion of office space to residential properties could have a detrimental impact not only on the city of London but on business districts throughout the UK,” Rees comments. “The cyclical nature of the property industry means that if developers were to turn offices into residential blocks when times were tough, the city’s ability to attract and house new firms would be seriously diminished.”

Rees is apparently set to argue that leading business districts should be made exempt from any changes to planning laws.

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