Office space is GoldenDigital Manager
On January 22nd, the Government announced a move to ease the housing shortage – proposing that for the next two years, property conversions from offices to residential dwellings would not require planning permission.
Although endorsed by the IoD as a ‘sensible’ way to ease the housing shortage, these plans could have a major impact on densely commercially-populated areas, where office space is at a premium.
Last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson confirmed that he would be strongly pushing for exemptions to these proposals for the City of London, South Bank and West End, as well as the burgeoning ‘Tech City/Silicon Roundabout’ area of east London, where office space is desperately needed.
London is a special case. Boris Johnson said “London is a colossal powerhouse of jobs and growth… It is absolutely vital that we can plan for these key areas so we continue to attract investment and businesses, maintaining London’s status as a global commercial hub.”
In order to attract inward investment and interest from overseas corporations, which the UK and London need, there must be the space to house these companies – space which could be at risk if these proposals go ahead without the exceptions needed for parts of London.
Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all solution. Although we need more housing, the business community continues to require more office space – a policy that will work well in residential Cheshire, may not suit the needs of commercial hubs in Central London or Manchester and exemptions like these must be considered, to ensure the ongoing strength of British business – crucial economic contributors.
Jo Hooper, Senior Account Manager