Office to Resi Rules Unlock 9,000 London Homes

Office-to-home conversions in London have spiked to a 10 year high under the government’s relaxed planning laws.
Notifications have been lodged for nearly 9,000 homes in the capital since government changes in May 2013 that allow the conversion of offices without going through the planning system. This compares with a 10-year average of 865, according to figures from EGi’s London Residential Research.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘We welcome Estate Gazette’s finding that the permitted development changes are providing much-needed homes in the capital, where there is an acute need. This is making good use of existing building stock, using brownfields sites, protecting the countryside, and is a not cost to taxpayers.”
LRR’s (EGi’s London Residential Research) show Islington as the inner London borough with the highest number of PDR notifications. Notifications for 617 homes were made in the year to the end of June 2014 – more than the total number of refurbishments applied for in the whole of the last decade.
IN the outer boroughs, PDR notifications made up 90% of applications for residential conversions and were more than 20 times higher than the pre-PDR average.
While the relaxed planning laws may provide much-needed new homes, LRR estimates that across London the notifications, which do not require a Section 106 contribution, equate to the loss of 660 affordable homes.
Nigel Evans, head of LRR said: Permitted development rights are stimulating growth in the capital but at what cost affordable housing provision is suffering. Normal conversions since 2011 generated a total of £53m for the inner London boroughs in lieu of affordable housing provision from 584 private homes. This year, PDR applications have the potential to generate 2,442 private units.”
Some boroughs also claim PDR is having a negative impact on commercial development
Camden council commissioned a Frost Meadowcroft and TBR report in April which found that the borough has just 14 months of office availability left due the rise in office to resi conversion.
Link to Camden Report