Flats smaller than a parking space the result of relaxed planning rules

Open Space 3 - 1st July 2010 -09- parking space

Plans for flats that would be smaller than a London cab could be given the go-ahead around the capital.

A report in The Times said developers are taking advantage of a relaxation in planning rules that allows offices to be converted into residential property.

Warehouse conversion

The report outlines how one project in Purley in south London was approved by council officials in Croydon. It involved turning a ground-floor office into two flats, one of 8.3 square metres (89 square feet) and the other of 9 square metres (97 square feet).

According to The Times, the minimum standard required for a parking space is 11.7 square metres.

The latest development is to convert warehouse and offices in Barnet, north London, into 107 flats with more than half of those not having any external windows. Instead 56 of the flats would look out on to an internal “atrium garden” with natural light coming from seven skylights in the roof.

Lacking basic necessities

The Times quoted Julia Park, head of housing research at Levitt Bernstein architects, describing the Barnet development as “more like a battery farm than a housing development”.

She said: “Space, daylight and ventilation are basic necessities and this is lacking in all three.”

The relaxation in planning rules mean that a typical studio apartment can be less than London’s legal minimum of 37 square metres where residents share amenities.

The Barnet scheme has not yet been given the green light. A local residents group has objected to the plan, calling it a “cynical exploitation of planning loopholes”.

About the Author Frances Traynor

Fran is the content writer for Capital Conveyancing, producing articles on all aspects of the conveyancing process and around the UK property market in general. If there is a topic you'd like to see covered on these pages, please drop Fran a line on [email protected]