London offices could be changed into homes without planning permission


Owners of London offices, as well as offices up and down the country, will be allowed to convert their offices into homes without planning permission – if new proposals go ahead.

Many areas of the UK capital have fought back in regards to the issue however, with the City of London now believed to be exempt from any changes.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, had originally suggested such changes two years ago, but up until now, aside from various planning laws being altered slightly, nothing concrete has been put into place.

However, Planning minister, Nick Boles, now looks set to officially confirm changes later in the week.

Under current rules, getting such planning permission can cost the property owners hundreds of thousands of pounds in regards to legal fees.

The City of London was particularly fierce in its resistance to the planned changes, identifying the risk that key landmark buildings in the area could end up as flats.

Due to the stir, it is now believed that the area will receive an exemption to the new rules with the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Mark Field, saying that he was “delighted” by exemption.

He said: “We’ve just had a once-in-a-lifetime financial crisis so it’s hard to judge what the demand will be for office space in the coming years.

“I’ve made representations on behalf of the Square Mile for an exemption so I am delighted by this sensible move.”

Not everyone is opposed to the idea however, with Fairbridge Residential Investment Management chief executive, Charles Fairhurst, telling the Financial Times that many London offices were actually ideal for conversion into property.

He said: “If you walk around Fitzrovia you quickly realise there are an awful lot of less attractive office buildings which would do better as residential.”

News bought to you from DeVono Cresa, the award-winning commercial property advisers, specialising in Central London office, retail and leisure space.