Search

Islington Council bid to opt out of office to flat conversion rules turned down

16:28 14 July 2014

Cllr James Murray

Cllr James Murray

Archant

A town hall bid to opt out of Government plans allowing developers to turn offices into bedsits almost at will has been rejected in what the council says is an “ill-founded, eleventh-hour intervention”.

Nick Boles MPNick Boles MP

The legislation, adopted in May 2013, lets office space be turned into housing with no planning permission, without notifying people and without the local authority being able to make sure the houses are up to scratch.

Already 68 buildings have been given prior approval to be converted in the borough under the new rules – 45,000 sq meters of office space which the town hall say equates to 3,000 jobs. In some cases, the council says small businesses and charities have been evicted.

To escape the plans, the council made an Article 4 direction to remove right to convert offices to homes from July 15 – but two days before the direction was due to come in, planning minister Nick Boles MP thew it out.

Councillor James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: “I’m very frustrated by the planning minister’s decision to stop us doing what’s right for Islington.

“We’re already seeing small businesses and charities being evicted from offices to make way for bedsits. People are losing out on jobs, affordable housing, and any community benefit.

“I’m also very disappointed that the planning minister waited until the eleventh hour to overturn our decision, refused to accept a compromise we offered, and in his reasoning got his figures wrong. Islington has consistently greatly exceeded its housing targets and is set to continue to do so.”

Of the homes created in these spaces so far, an estimated two thirds are one-bedroom flats or bedsits – and no affordable housing has been created.

The planning minister said the council had “applied their direction disproportionately”.

He added: “These practical planning reforms are providing badly needed new homes on brownfield sites, close to urban locations and transport links, at no cost to the taxpayer.

“Yet a small minority of town halls are trying to undermine these reforms, not least, since they are unable to hit such builders with state levies or since they may have an irrational objection to more private housing.

“Yet, these conversions coming forward will help offer competitively priced properties, accessible to hard-working people.”

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 13:42
Blackfriars Crown Court. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

A Finsbury Park man raped a woman in her sleep before his co-accused kicked her in the back, a court heard.

Yesterday, 15:22
Julia Cheng, founder of House of Absolute. Picture: Vladmir Gruev

For a 13th successive year, Breakin’ Convention, the UK’s biggest hip-hop dance theatre festival, returned to Sadler’s Wells at the weekend. James Morris spoke to one performer, Julia Cheng, and found out her 15-minute piece required 15 days of preparation.

Yesterday, 12:21
The London Charterhouse will be open to the public in November 2016 for the first time in its 660-year history

The London Charterhouse is set to open its doors to the public this autumn for the first time in its 660-year history.

Yesterday, 09:02
islington town hall

A lettings agent and four landlords have been slapped with court bills totalling £20,000 for abusing houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) license practices.

Tue, 17:10
Grafton Primary School went on strike at Freightliners Farm, Holloway, as part of the national campaign against SATs in Key Stage 1. Picture: Ellie Hoskins

It’s 10am and the placards are out. The faces are youthful, but determined. They are on strike against government policy. But these are no junior doctors.

Tue, 12:00
Monty looking sorry for himself at Harmsworth Animal Hospital, Holloway

A severely injured kitten found callously dumped in an Archway bin store late last year has this week become the first pet to be rehomed overseas by the RSPCA.

Tue, 09:35
Holloway Prison

Two hundred inmates at Holloway Prison are today preparing to move 20 miles away to Downview prison in Surrey.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd in Clerkenwell Green to mark the May Day rally. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn today became the first Labour leader in 50 years to address the May Day rally in Clerkenwell Green.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe