Permitted Development Rights is a damaging government policy that takes away the red tape from the process of converting office to residential. Intended to help ease the urgent shortage of houses in London, the policy in fact is depleting the city’s affordable workspace to the detriment of businesses that are being forced to relocate.
We believe these SMEs and startup businesses are absolutely vital to the sustainability and health of London’s economy. This is why we put so much resource and energy in to priming startup businesses – we know that they will have a huge contribution to the success of the local economy.
Currently, huge financial gains are to be made by converting an office block in to flats. More so, it is advised that these conversions include affordable housing – in reality, they are often exclusively luxury apartments.
Whilst areas within the Central Activities Zone are (for now) exempt, Camden Town falls outside of this boundary and already has insufficient workspace. Local businesses have felt the effects of losing hundreds, if not thousands of employees due to this policy.
Currently, we are encouraged by Mayor Sadiq Khan’s support for our cause, since he announced a commitment to protect our business community from the effects of the government policy. We look forward to seeing the effects of his interest in the matter. In the meantime, we continue to lobby central government and local MPs – we understand that PDR may be suitable for some areas, but believe that the Central Activities Zone should be extended to cover the entire of London. Our capital city relies on the success of businesses, and we are losing them every day due to this policy.
The bill originally proposed a link to HS1 that would cut through the heart of Camden, causing decades of disruption and costing the local economy around £630 million. The loss of 9,000 jobs and closure of some of Camden’s iconic markets would have been impossible to recover from. We successfully argued for the link to be dropped.
2010 plans for Northern Line upgrades meant 33 consecutive full line closures, and 16 months of early weekday closures. The decrease in footfall and assault on the nighttime economy would have been devastating to the local economy. Our continuous lobbying on the matter resulted in only 8 non-consecutive closures and a 60% decrease in passenger disruption.