Press release

Government action to help provide more new homes in London

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Housing Minister takes steps to ensure that empty and redundant office space in the London Borough of Islington can continue to be converted into new homes for Londoners.

placeholder

Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, today (17 September 2014) took steps to ensure that empty and redundant office space in the London Borough of Islington can continue to be converted into new homes for Londoners.

Since May 2013, those looking to convert offices into new homes have been able to do so under a permitted development right – that is, without applying for planning permission, other than a light-touch “prior approval” mechanism for transport, contamination and flooding issues. Such rights have been enthusiastically adopted by the housing industry, with a particular move towards providing new studio and 1 bedroom flats. This has included the conversion and refurbishment of the Archway Tower in Islington.

However, Islington council issued an Article 4 Direction, seeking to remove these rights across the borough. This was despite a special exemption exercise previously taking place, which exempted the much of the strategic office space in the borough.

After discussions with the council, the steps taken today by ministers will limit where office to residential conversions cannot take place under permitted development rights to very small, targeted parts of Islington – rather than a blanket ban applying across the whole area.

Anyone looking to convert offices to homes outside those specific areas will continue benefit from the government’s permitted development rights, where they no longer have to apply for planning permission other than the prior approval process.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

House building levels have reached their highest levels since 2007, but there is an acute need for more homes, especially in London.

With more mobile modern day working practices, and housing being in such demand, it makes sense to allow the free market to create new homes on brownfield land. In turn, such regeneration helps protect the countryside.

The steps I’m taking today ensure that Londoners can benefit from the steps we’ve taken to cut red tape and make it easier to deliver these new homes in Islington.

This map, for illustration purposes, gives a general outline of the areas in Islington where the Article 4 Direction applies. Formal documentation will be published by the council.

Islington: office to residential outline map

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email alternativeformats@communities.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Office address and general enquiries

2 Marsham Street
London

SW1P 4DF

Media enquiries

Published 17 September 2014
Last updated 18 September 2014 + full page history
  1. Added illustrative map giving a general outline of the areas in Islington where the Article 4 Direction applies.
  2. First published.