LAMBETH COUNCIL INTRODUCE ‘ARTICLE 4’ TO STOP OFFICE SPACE LOSS – Council’s move follows similar action by Southwark
Lambeth council are proposing a measure that would protect valuable office space from being turned into residential units.
Their move follows a similar announcement by Southwark council last month when it placed a planning restriction on miles of railway arches to try and prevent them being turned into housing.
Lambeth say it has a high number of small businesses and is increasingly popular with start-ups and more established companies.
“But the council warns the loss of office space directly undermines the borough’s potential for economic growth and development, including scope for business expansion, job retention and creation” said a Lambeth council statement..
“The council proposes introducing what’s known as an Article 4 direction which would protect designated areas including Brixton and parts of Clapham from ‘permitted development rights’ introduced by the government which has already seen the loss of vital office space, in some cases forcing businesses out of the borough.
“The direction means people would have to apply for planning permission to change use of an office to housing in the designated areas.
“Lambeth supports the creation of more housing to meet and exceed its housing target, and believes there is sufficient land to meet that need.
“Housing is not appropriate in office clusters and in some areas occupied by light industrial or waste services, where there can be an impact from noise, dust or smells.
“There’s also no control over the quality of housing created under permitted development rights and the council cannot secure affordable housing on those sites.”
Lambeth’s cabinet member for regeneration, business and culture Cllr Jack Hopkins said: “Lambeth needs homes and jobs but the government’s scheme risks us losing valuable employment space and having poor quality housing which is no win for anyone except speculative developers.
“Businesses can’t grow and nor can our local economy if we lose space for people to work and end up with substandard accommodation like beds in sheds.”
Lambeth say that since the introduction of the original permitted development right in May 2013, they have received 235 prior approval applications for change of use from office to residential.
Of these 137 (58 per cent) have been approved, 75 (32pc) refused and 23 (10pc ) withdrawn. “For the period to April 2015, the approvals would equate to the loss of approximately 14,000 m2 of B1(a) office floor space and the creation of 508 new residential units, if all the approvals were implemented (by March 2015, the rate of implementation for those granted since May 2013 was 73pc).
The areas proposed are:
1. Clapham North Industrial Estate Key Industrial and Business Area (KIBA)
2. Durham Street/Oval Way KIBA
3. Eurolink Business Centre KIBA
4. Kennington Business Park KIBA
5. Lion Yard KIBA
6. Park Hall Trading Estate KIBA
7. Shakespeare Road Business Centre KIBA
8. Southbank House and Newport Street – Part KIBA
9. Stannary Street KIBA
10. Timber Mill Way KIBA
11. Brixton Town Centre Overview
12. Brixton Town Centre North West
13. Brixton Town Centre East
14. Brixton Town Centre South
15. Clapham Sites
(Source: Lambeth council press release. Full version can be found by ‘Googling’ lambeth.gov press releases – Ed.)
Further reading: Businesses are ‘left homeless’ – report by Jack Dixon, South London Press. A group of 20 small business owners say they have become “homeless” following the temporary closure of the Carnegie Library……..