East Hampshire Council saves its office space from residential conversions
East Hampshire Council has successfully argued for an exemption from the Government’s recent approval of the office to flat conversion initiative, blocking developers from converting its empty offices into housing without prior planning permission.
The controversial new rules introduced by the Government in 2013 have so far seen 17 councils successfully apply for partial exemption - including the City of London – from the rules.
Developers will now not be able to convert any newly vacant office blocks within the East Hampshire region without first applying for planning permission to do so, with the new development rights set to come into effect on the 30th of May this year.
Commenting on the development, Portfolio Holder for Planning in East Hampshire District Council, David Parkinson said: “This is good news for the business community in East Hampshire. The exemption means that East Hampshire’s towns and villages maintain the ability to respond to the ever changing needs of businesses.
“The exemption means that we can plan effectively for future economic growth and prosperity without the threat of losing valuable office floor space.”
East Hampshire District Council’s chief argument against the office to residential initiate was that it would harm the fragile economy within the area, as there is already a shortage of office space there.
The successful securing of its office space provides a boost to the local businesses in East Hampshire and its economy, with the negative impact of office space conversion scheme said to far outweigh the benefits it would have brought to the area.
Julia Potter, head of planning at East Hampshire, said: ‘An exemption is great news for the district as a whole.
‘The negative impact, in terms of loss of jobs and gross value added, of the new measures would have far outweighed the benefits.”