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Proposed office to home rights threat to significant business locations, says mayor of London

Government proposals to introduce permanent permitted development rights for office to residential schemes without retaining existing exemptions will place the future of nationally and internationally significant business locations under threat, mayor of London Boris Johnson has said.

According to a report by Planning Magazine, Johnson has responded to the Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) consultation on the proposals in a letter also signed by the British Property Foundation, the Planning Officers' Society and business organisation London First. 

The DCLG launched a consultation in July with proposals to introduce permanent permitted development rights similar to the temporary rights introduced last year which allow the conversion of offices to homes without the need for planning permission.

The government approved applications for exemptions from the temporary rights for 33 areas across 17 local authorities. Under the new proposals, the exemptions would not be carried over to apply when the permanent rights come into force.

The new right would however be subject to additional prior approval which will consider the "potential impact of the significant loss of the most strategically important office accommodation".

According to the report, the consultation response said that a process to allow local authorities to assess and define the most strategically important office accommodation in their area would "strike the right balance between identifying and protecting strategically important office accommodation and keeping the administrative burden of doing so to a minimum".

The consultation on the proposals ended on 26 September. 

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