I was interested to read recently that Islington Council (supported by a number of other London Boroughs) has applied for a judicial review of the new PD rights to convert office buildings to residential.
The challenge relates to the way in which the Government tackled the (numerous) requests for exclusions from these PD rights, amid concerns about the impacts the new rights could have on local areas.
The new rights, which we discussed briefly in a previous blog post, came into force on 30 May and were intended to offer some flexibility in relation to the use of redundant office buildings. However, there are fears that business leases may be brought to an early end specifically so that landlords can take advantage of the PD rights and attract residential income, thereby reducing important employment floorspace, and also that the rights may lead to poorly designed and overcrowded flats.
It is of course open for authorities to issue article 4 directions to remove the PD rights as they see appropriate, and some have already declared that they will seek to do this, although these are not without cost and resource implications.
Localism at its finest? Do other authorities intend to follow Islington’s lead?