“The plans to convert this office space in Wood Green into 219 ‘rabbit hutch’ flats are appalling. Permitted development is a national disgrace and is symbolic of partial and biased planning regulations, and a broken housing market." Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council
Haringey Labour has led calls against plans to convert office space in Alexandra House into 219 ‘rabbit hutch’ flats via Permitted Development.
Under the legislation ‘The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015’, a developer can convert offices into residential properties without the need for planning permission.
Instead, they are only required to inform the council of the proposed conversion. The council can only intervene in limited circumstances – where there are: transport impacts, contamination or flooding risks, or noise from nearby commercial premises.
Before the introduction of this legislation, in 2013 Haringey council applied to the government for an exemption for metropolitan town centres like Wood Green but were rebuffed by the then Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition.
Local Ward Councillors, Lucia das Neves and Mark Blake have already submitted objections to these plans, alongside Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, Catherine West and numerous other local residents.
Councillor Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council, said:
“The plans to convert this office space in Wood Green into 219 ‘rabbit hutch’ flats are appalling. Permitted development is a national disgrace and is symbolic of partial and biased planning regulations, and a broken housing market.
“This legislation has taken power away from democratically elected local decisionmakers, and handed it to developers – whose main worry is, of course, their shareholders. It allows developers to acquire office blocks full of businesses providing jobs and stability to the local economy, and to evict those businesses turning prime office space in town centres into unacceptably poor-quality housing. Council’s cannot even prevent people being cramped into rooms well below the Government’s own minimum space standards.
“When business leaseholders are out forced out of our borough, our Council loses vital income through business rates that we need to spend on essential services for local people. The Council Tax revenue it is replaced with is substantially less.
“Haringey Council remains on the side of Haringey residents. We will continue to press for the closure of this planning loophole, and support the local economy to ensure that housing built to address the housing crisis really is housing fit for people to live in.
Councillor Lucia das Neves, Woodside Councillor, said:
“The building is neighboured by several commercial office blocks in an already traffic-laden road, near a busy bus garage. The potential for noise and air pollution is clear.
“This type of development will not provide quality homes for residents – indeed they do not meet minimum size requirements normally required by planning.
“They will be cramped, single occupancy shoe boxes, many with little natural light due to the current layout and structure of the building, with unattractive and poor design features like walls being built across windows.”
Whilst there are limited ways in which the Council can stop this application, Haringey Labour will fight tooth and nail to prevent this office space in the centre of Wood Green, currently full of businesses providing jobs and stability to the local economy, from being turned into low-quality housing.