Green light given to applications
As a commercial and residential development consultant for Jacob Carr Homes Ltd, Richard Carr is an advocate of converting unused office space into housing. Richard has an excellent track record of achieving planning for his clients and employers developments.
A recent report showed that local London authorities gave the green light for over 50% of applications to turn office blocks into homes in the three months to June 2014, according to new research.
Permitted Development Rights
In May 2013, the UK’s current government altered the permitted development rights that allowed developers to convert offices to residential use without seeking planning permission or fulfilling any affordable housing supply obligations.
Property consultancy Daniel Watney revealed that 457 prior approval applications were made across the capital in the three months to June, 2014. 56% were granted, 45% refused and 19% were deemed not to need prior approval.
Although the changes to the permitted development rights eased planning obligations for developers they are still required to seek ‘prior approval’. It is defined by the government’s Planning Portal as “approval from the local planning authority that specified elements of the development are acceptable before work can proceed”.
Businesses will benefit
Many of the capitals councils have expressed alarm that the government’s changes mean boroughs are being stripped of employment space, whilst developers escape rules that demand they provide affordable housing alongside their schemes.
However, in Richard Carr’s opinion he believes that communities and businesses will benefit.
He believes that the evidence is further proof that we shouldn’t touch the ‘green belt’ and that we need to accept higher buildings to satisfy housing needs. In the long term it will have a twofold benefit to the nation. Communities would get more iconic architecture as a result of the developer having a higher Gross Development Value (GDV).
Also, communities would become more condensed, which would provide a better return to businesses who serve them. There would also be a reduction in transport costs.