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Change of Use

Question for Department for Communities and Local Government

UIN 226865, tabled on 9 March 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what monitoring he has undertaken of the results of Permitted Development Rules that allow for conversion of commercial properties to housing; and what proportion of the new dwellings are for social rent.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

26 March 2015

This Government is committed to providing more homes on brownfield land, and our change of use reforms are helping turn under-used or redundant office space into badly-needed accommodation, at no cost to taxpayers. The policy helps increase housing supply, including greater provision of studio and one-bedroom flats for young people. This policy is particularly beneficial in London, given the high demand for housing.

Research published by Knight Frank in May 2014 estimated that nationally, prior approval applications had been secured for over 3.2 million square feet of new housing.

An analysis by Planning magazine in November 2014, surveying London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield, estimated that a total of 17,425 new homes had been given permission across those specific cities.

Research by Estates Gazette (EGi) in the year from May 2013 identified 303 schemes across London, delivering 8,924 new homes. The hon. Member may wish to note that in Islington alone, there were 26 schemes which were set to deliver 617 new homes.

My Department has been collating formal statistics on office to residential conversions since April 2014. A total of 1,436 prior approval applications were granted from April to December 2014, and a further 1,155 applications were made where prior approval was not necessary. These will deliver a significant volume of housing.

Those who seek to oppose these reforms need to spell out exactly where they think new homes should go instead.

We do not hold information on the tenure of such dwellings.

Named day
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