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Brokenshire to look again at office-to-residential conversions

Words: Huw Morris
Office conversion / Shutterstock_501902

The government will review the conversion of offices into homes without planning permission after a leading Conservative MP lambasted the policy for allowing ‘social cleansing’.

Reforms to permitted development rights in 2013 have allowed developers to convert offices into residences without planning permission. Conservative MP for Harlow Robert Halfon told Parliament this week the policy had not worked.

“It has allowed landlord to build ghettos. It’s allowed London councillors to socially cleanse their most vulnerable families to places like Harlow,” he said.

Halfon urged the government to reform the permitted development rules rules, adding that Harlow had not received any extra resources “to deal with the extra burden” for providing more doctors, schools, social services and police.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire told the Commons that he would look “at where the burden lies” when families are transferred and rehoused from London.

He added that the government had made a commitment in he chancellor’s Spring Statement to examine the conversion of offices to residential use.

Image credit | Shutterstock