CROYDON ACTS TO PROTECT OFFICE SPACE
Planning powers could be used by Croydon council to prevent offices being converted into residential accommodation in the town centre.
The council say they are proposing to introduce the measure to protect much-needed office space being lost to substandard housing.
“In May last year, the government brought in permitted development rights which allowed offices to be converted into housing without planning permission” said a council statement.
“There was also no requirement to supply affordable housing or to meet the Mayor of London’s space standards.
“At the time the council, along with other local authorities, unsuccessfully applied for an exemption due to fears over the effect this could have on office space and the quality of residential accommodation.
“With these fears now being realised, the council has informed the Secretary of State Eric Pickles that from 10 September 2015 it intends to bring in powers known as Article 4 that revoke the permitted development right.
“A report going to cabinet on Monday, 20 October, reveals that since permitted development rights were introduced, 1,074 out of 1,236 units in Croydon approved under the right were substandard residential accommodation.
“The report clarifies the council’s planning policy to protect office space in the central Croydon area, in particular around East Croydon station.
“As set out in the recently announced Croydon Growth Plan, it is the council’s ambition to reinstate Croydon as a premier office location, and provide 1 million sq ft of high quality office space.”
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We want to give certainty to investors and developers about our support for office developments.
“While we are committed to providing new homes for Croydon residents, this is not at any cost. “We are determined that all our homes, from whatever sector, should be decent and fit for purpose.
“In addition, the loss of office space is also resulting in a loss of jobs and opportunities for local people.” (Source: Croydon council press release)