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Khan pledges to protect office space for London's small businesses

Words: Laura Edgar

New measures will be put in place to help protect and expand office space for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in London, the city's new mayor has announced.

The pledge from Sadiq Khan follows the publication of City Hall figures that suggest over 1.47 million square metres of office could already have been converted into residential units in the capital under permitted development rights since 2013.

Announcing new protections, the mayor's office claimed that conversion on this scale could mean space for 93,750 jobs could be lost, based on a calculation that 16 m2 equates to one job.

Among the protections promised by Khan are:

  • 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

  • Working with the government on changes to permitted development rights.

Khan said the 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,” he said.

“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.”

The London mayor explained that he 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”.

He added that this is “just one of the many pro-business measures” he’ll be setting out in the coming months.

Image credit | iStock