Dismore raises loss of office space in Barnet

At Mayor’s Question Time today, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM raised with the Mayor the loss of office space in Barnet due to the Government’s ‘permitted development’ rules. (Video here)

Mr Dismore said:

‘The Government’s permitted development rights have led to the loss of considerable numbers of workplaces, both office and industrial. The impact has been felt particularly strongly in outer London where 18% of office stock has been lost- Barnet has lost 19%.


‘In Barnet, there have been 156 cases under the Government’s Permitted Development  policy , with  60% of applications in  town centres and 12% on edge of centre locations.


‘Premier House in Edgware  was  the largest prior approval in Barnet and represented a loss of  viable space for 160 businesses and charities , evicted  for the conversion to 122 flats with none under  any   affordable criteria, a serious  permitted development loophole, and in a building and location that is manifestly  unsuitable for residential.   There was a bad fire there last week.


‘Of course we need good quality , affordable housing; but we equally  need places for people to work, especially locally  in suburban  town centres, if we are to ease the demands on the  transport system  and give people  a quality of life that avoids the commuting.


The Mayor needs  to use the new London Plan as an opportunity to mitigate against the government’s disastrous PD rights policies for London; and to  look into what more the GLA can  do to provide direct support to businesses  threatened with eviction at short notice, such as assisting with identifying alternative affordable workspace’.

The Mayor stressed the importance of boroughs applying for ‘Article 4‘ exemption from Permitted Development, which return planning control to the local level. Camden Council had applied for such exemptions, but did not get all they needed; Barnet failed to apply at all.

The Mayor also raised the importance to the economy of Small to Medium Enterprises and the need for support for them from the GLA in these circumstances.