London mayor Sadiq Khan is to protect spaces for small businesses and start ups as part of a package of measures to support enterprise in the city, City A.M. can reveal.
Figures from City Hall show that 1.47m square metres of office space have been converted into residential units since 2013 through schemes which have allowed changeover to happen without planning permission.
Khan has instructed officials to amend London's planning bible to enshrine stronger protection for small business spaces, making it more difficult to convert them to living spaces.
It comes just over two weeks after he moved to fast-track scores of Transport for London-owned sites for housing development.
And the mayor said that the changes to The London Plan will mark a twin-pronged approach, with new affordable homes built on so-called brownfield land, while business space is also protected.
"Of course we need new homes, but this does not need to be at the expense of the space we need for the businesses that provide our jobs and drive our prosperity,” Khan said.
"Space which is genuinely surplus to commercial needs should be identified authoritatively and its release carefully managed so that it does not undermine local business."