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Islington offices could be forcibly replaced by expensive flats as government plans to relax planning law

PUBLISHED: 12:18 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:27 22 March 2018

Office space in Farringdon could be at risk if Islington Council and other local authorities are unable to stop the government changing its planning policy. Picture: Paul Marriott Photography

Office space in Farringdon could be at risk if Islington Council and other local authorities are unable to stop the government changing its planning policy. Picture: Paul Marriott Photography

© Paul Marriott Photography

Vital employment space could be lost to – you guessed it! – expensive luxury flats.

Next year, the government is planning to lift legislation that currently protects Islington’s office space closest to central London – places like King’s Cross, Clerkenwell and Farringdon.

In 2013, it introduced a planning law which allowed offices outside “central” to be changed to housing without planning permission. Since then, Islington Council estimates 53,000 square metres of office space – about seven football pitches – have been lost to private residential with no requirement for affordable housing. About half of these offices were occupied, meaning companies were forced out.

To protect current office space towards central London, the council has initiated an “Article 4 Direction”.

Economic development leader Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “We’re challenging this planning change because in other parts of Islington it has directly led to the closure of functioning family businesses.

“Smaller businesses are a huge part of the economy in Islington, and really important employers of local people.

“Also, permitted development rights allow landlords to convert buildings to housing without any affordable housing at all, making London’s housing crisis worse.”

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