LBE petition to stop developers converting offices to homes without planning permission

Better Homes for Enfield have organised the following petition which is running now on the London Borough of Enfield web-site, see link below.  The petition closes on 10th September 2019.

The aim of their petition is to get Enfield Council to enact something called an “Article 4 Directive”, to control Office to Residential Permitted Development. Office to Residential Permitted Development was introduced in 2013; its aim was to use vacant office space to create new homes.

However, it hasn’t gone completely to plan because:

1. Developers have also targeted occupied offices. However, research indicates that in Enfield over 70% of applications have been for occupied offices. As a result, local businesses are now relocating elsewhere).

2. Developers do not need to get planning permission, which has led to some very poor-quality housing, which is so bad that it is a risk to health and wellbeing. It also means that the opinions of the local community are completely ignored.

3. Developers can sidestep affordable home guidelines, so Enfield has missed out on hundreds of affordable homes

4. Developers can avoid paying planning fees and community payments (the exact loss to Enfield is hard to calculate but we estimate that it runs into several million pounds)

Most London Boroughs already have an Article 4 enacted to protect office space in their borough and to regain control over the planning process. Better Homes for Enfield simply want Enfield Council to do the same.

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