The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he will put new measures in place to help protect office space for small businesses from conversion to residential under permitted development.Sadiq Khan made the announcement following the publication of new City Hall figures which show that since 2013, over 1.47 million square metres of office space could have already been converted into residential units in London using the Government’s ‘permitted development rights’, which allows office-to-residential developments. The Mayor’s office says that this means space for nearly 94,000 jobs in London could be lost through this process.
The new measures the Mayor plans to put in place include amending the London Plan so that there is stronger protection for small businesses and start-up workspace; delivering new spaces for small businesses, the creative industries, artists and the fashion industry within new residential and mixed-use developments; promoting schemes to provide linked affordable housing and business space in new housing developments; and working with the Government on changes to permitted development rights.
Sadiq Khan, said: “These new figures lay bare the impact that the Government’s misguided policies are having on space for business in London. 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.
“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.
“As Mayor, I will be focusing on building new affordable homes on publicly and privately owned brownfield land, while changing the London Plan in order to protect viable business space and to create new start-up spaces in housing developments.
“There clearly needs to be more control over where office space can be converted to residential use. Over the next four years, I will be working to build the thousands of affordable houses we need in London at the same time as increasing the good quality space available for small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs. This is just one of the many pro-business measures I’ll be setting out in the coming months.”