Office-to-housing conversions blocked in swathes of London

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday confirmed plans that will allow developers to convert office space into housing without planning permission – but many central London boroughs will be at least partly excluded from the rule.

Local councils fought hard against the rule change in an attempt to maintain their control over existing commercial zones.

As a result parts of the City, Camden, Islington, Southwark, Wandsworth, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea have gained exemptions from the new rules, which are due to come into force on 30 May.

Earlier this year City A.M. revealed how the new rules would not require developers to pay so-called section 106 contributions, meaning they avoided paying millions of pounds to local infrastructure and housing funds.

The government also confirmed concessions to its plan to allow homeowners to build single-storey extensions to their houses without planning permission. Neighbours will now have be consulted on large schemes.