Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

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Mayor Johnson urged to fight Government office to homes policy

I passed a motion on 5 June urging the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to press the Government to abandon office-to-residential permitted development rights was passed unanimously by the London Assembly.

The new planning policy gives developers a free hand to convert offices into housing without planning permission.

My motion pushes the Mayor to stand up for London, highlighting that the Mayor has supported exemptions for areas in Central London, but failed to ask exemption for even one exemption in any of the Outer London Borough.

I raised this motion because I am concerned about jobs, quality of residential accommodation and economic growth in London. The huge disparity in values between office and residential accommodation and economic growth in London will place pressure on offices to be converted into flats, which pushes out businesses and threatens jobs.

Harrow has already lost 45,000sqm of office space to residential use over the last ten years – that’s equivalent to losing  2,190 jobs. This gives us a sense of the pressure already to convert even without these permitted development rights, so imagine what will happen now that the flood gates have been opened. The Mayor has promoted Intensification Area for Harrow in his London Plan but the strategy lodged by Harrow Council for the economic growth in this area is already under threat. Harrow Council’s bid for exemption from the change of use was not supported by the Mayor and refused by the government. Now that the London Assembly has agreed I hope that the Mayor will lobby the government to revoke the policy and help save areas like Harrow from economic damage.

Ends

Notes

  1. Navin Shah is the London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow.
  2. Plenary session on 5 June can be found here: http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/webcasts
  3. The motion is below as passed unanimously by the London Assembly:

Mover: Cllr Navin Shah AM

Seconder: Nicky Gavron AM

“This Assembly calls on the Mayor of London to lobby the Government to revoke its policy allowing the conversion of offices of all sizes into flats almost overnight and, crucially, without planning permission.”