Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Brent may see more offices converted into housing after Government announcement

After Boris Johnosn's announcement this afternoon it seems likely that Brent will see more office buildings converted into homes as well as more freedom for developers in general. Offices may no longer be in demand as working from home continues and the office overheads are shifted to the home worker to the benefit of the employer. On the plus sides the reduction in commuting will reduce air pollution and traffic congestion.

Conversion of office into homes has recently been opposed by some Brent Council members as the resultant accommodation is often of poor quality, and pre-Covid, it meant a reduction in local job opportunities.  The most prominent Brent  conversion has been 1 Olympic Way.

This is how the BBC reported the proposals that will take effect in September.

Under what Mr Johnson dubbed "project speed," planning laws would also be streamlined to encourage building.

Changes, planned for September, include:
  • A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application
  • Builders will not need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings, if they are rebuilt as homes
  • Homeowners will be able to build additional space above their properties "via a fast track approval process" and subject to neighbour consultation

Slipped into the announcement what amounts to a reduction of money for affordable housing that in the Budget was announced as £12bn over 5 years but will now be over 12 years.

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