After a period of consultation and debate, the Government’s controversial changes to permitted development rights come into affect today 30th May 2013. For those dealing primarily in the Central London offices market, a change of use from Class B1(a) Offices to C3 Residential will not require planning permission as a general rule. However, the Government has exempted certain areas from these provisions. In London, the Central Activities Zone (CAZ) and central areas in Islington, Westminster, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth and Wandsworth have been exempted.
In essence this easier route for conversion to residential in Central London has sparked a number of sales of offices buildings at record levels. Developers and investors have targeted buildings where they believe high quality residential use would be appropriate and have been paying prices reflecting residential end value. Mellersh & Harding are closely involved in the letting of many small office suites in Central London and there is no doubt that the supply of the smaller offices is reducing. Whilst some offices are already being converted to residential use, there are many where landlords will only now grant short term leases as they have set their sights on short/medium term residential conversion. Accordingly, landlords are beginning to offer small office suites at higher rents as demand outstrips supply.
Mellersh & Harding have various offices to let in St James’s and offices to let in Victoria, full details of which can be found on the website.