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London firms rail against Government property development rule change

Changes to property development laws which could see commercial space converted into residential without the need for planning permission, are being opposed by certain London-based firms. 


A number of firms based in the east end of London are against the plans, which have been rolled out by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, in a bid to help combat the housing shortage.


The firms claim that the planning changes will lead to commercial office space prices skyrocketing, meaning many will be forced out of the city.


Eighty-seven firms based in Tech City in Shoreditch have so far opposed the plans, signing an online petition and writing to Mr Pickles.


“We believe that if the changes to permitted development rights were implemented in Hackney, this could adversely affect start-ups in the area […] A number of commercial buildings have already been converted to residential properties, but if this is made possible without each conversion being considered on its merits this will drive commercial rents up and smaller businesses out of the area,” the letter read.


However, Mr Pickles maintained that the changes to development laws would ensure economic growth was promoted by using previously developed land and properties, as well as much-needed homes being provided. He also said that the measures would ensure that environmentally protected land was safeguarded for the future.

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