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02/09/2014

DCLG admits error over Islington Article 4

Words: Sam Waddicor

The Department for Communities and Local Government has admitted it made “an error of fact” when it decided to cancel a planning directive of Islington Council.

The directive withdrew permitted development rights for the conversion of offices into homes in certain areas of the borough and was required to prevent loss of jobs and affordable homes.

In a statement released on Friday (29 August) Islington council said the DCLG had admitted it ‘got its number wrong’ and had agreed to rescind the decision on Islington’s Article 4 directive in the coming weeks. The reason given for the mistake was the DCLG "failing to take into account all the types of housing that the London Plan housing targets do".

Islington Council's executive member for housing and development, James Murray, said: "No-one would deny that London needs new homes. We are one of the top boroughs nationally for building new homes - we're actually building thousands of genuinely affordable homes for social rent.

"The government says its policy is about converting empty offices into homes. Yet in Islington, we can see the damaging effect this policy is having. We're losing jobs but getting lots of one-bed and bedsit flats, with no affordable housing or other community benefit.

"I am pleased Eric Pickles accepts his department made a mistake, and I hope this means we can now have a proper discussion about how we can protect jobs and provide decent, affordable homes in Islington."

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