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Councils challenge conversion rules in court

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Councils challenge conversion rules in court

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal

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Richmond upon Thames is mounting a joint legal challenge with three other councils to the government’s decision to relax planning rules and allow conversions of office to residential premises.

Richmond upon Thames, Islington, Camden, and Lambeth councils are bringing a joint action against the revised General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) which the government introduced on 30 May 2013.  The councils complain that uner this order existing offices can be changed to housing without planning permission, and local residents and councils are powerless to prevent or impose conditions on these developments.

The councils say they are bringing the action because without planning controls the boroughs will lose valuable employment space and, with it, jobs. In addition, "the councils cannot ensure that new housing created without planning permission is of adequate standards nor can they secure any affordable housing or planning contributions towards essential infrastructure such as schools".

The hearing is taking place today (Wednesday) at The Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Richmond Council cabinet member for business, Cllr Gareth Evans, said: "The changes to planning laws will weaken business opportunities in Richmond upon Thames."

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