Croydon Council seeks powers to control office conversions

The London Borough of Croydon is seeking to introduce special planning measures to prevent offices from being converted into new homes in its central area.

Croydon: councils seeks special planning powers
Croydon: councils seeks special planning powers

The authority has notified communities secretary Eric Pickles that from September next year it intends to bring in Article 4 powers to revoke permitted development rights that allow offices to be converted into homes without planning permission.

According to a report that will be put before cabinet next week, the council is concerned that strategically important office floorspace is being lost, and that the quality of the majority of residential accommodation being delivered is "sub-standard and doesn’t meet planning requirements, such as minimum floorspace standards".

It said around 87 per cent of the 1,236 residential units approved in Croydon since the permitted development rights were introduced last year did not meet the London Plan space standards.

The report also said the council would take a "robust approach" and require a detailed assessment of proposals for the loss of office accommodation in the Croydon Opportunity Area, particularly around East Croydon.

It said: "Any loss of office floorspace will need to be justified fully against the whole planning policy landscape and demonstrate there is no reasonable prospect of office retention, upgrade or office led redevelopment.

"Looking forward, the emerging ‘Croydon Local Plan: Detailed Policies and Proposals’ provide the planning policy opportunity to introduce an office retention policy."

Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: "We want to give certainty to investors and developers about our support for office developments.

"While we are committed to providing new homes for Croydon residents, this is not at any cost. We are determined that all our homes, from whatever sector, should be decent and fit for purpose."


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