In response to queries about the new offices to residential permitted development regime Mike Kiely, POS President, told new magazine The Planner that "the release of redundant offices should be carried out in a planned way so that a balance is struck between the need to provide housing with the need to maintain employment. To pass this over to a permitted development regime and market forces will not deliver that balance."
Kiely added, "The main driver will be higher values and in most areas, particularly London, that means residential. Offices will be lost, not just where they are empty and potentially redundant, but also where they are occupied but break clauses in leases allow landlords to change them into residential. The other risk is that even where planning authorities are willing to allow offices to be converted into residential there is high risk that poor quality conversions (carried out under PD) will put off investors who wanted to carry our a good quality conversion."
Kiely continued "A key role for planning is to provide a stable investment platform. This PD undermines that role and could have the perverse and unintended consequence of providing less office conversions rather than more."