Saturday, 29 April 2017

Council angered by offices to homes plans

Councillors in Brighton have hit out at the government after they were refused an exemption from a law which makes it easier to change offices into homes.

Brighton Council released a statement expressing concern about the new permitted development rights, which come into force at the end of the month. The new rules mean developers can change the category of a building without the need for planning permission.

Brighton Council said this will have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the city’s business growth.

It had applied for an exemption from the rules, but was denied. The government published the list of 17 local authorities that have been granted exemptions on Thursday last week.

Phélim Mac Cafferty, deputy leader of Brighton Council, said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ that the council’s bid failed.

‘The council understands only too well the need for housing as well as anyone in government, but it is equally vital that we are able to sustain the economic regeneration of our city,’ he said.

Of the 17 areas that will be exempt from the planning changes, 11 are in London. This was welcomed by the mayor of London.

Edward Lister, deputy mayor for planning, said: ‘London’s offices play a crucial role in the UK economy, attracting investment and businesses from around the world. We need to maintain London’s status as a global commercial hub so it is absolutely right they should be protected.’

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