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Harrow Borough Council 'sympathetic' to concerns over conversion of offices into flats
Harrow Borough Council has admitted it has limited powers to stop developers planning to convert offices into flats.
The authority says it cannot consider the full range of issues it would normally take into account when dealing with such proposals.
The comment comes after concerns were raised by group Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment about several applications, including plans to turn offices at First National House into flats.
A spokesman for the council said: “Harrow Council is sympathetic to the concerns expressed by the Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment about this recent change in planning rules by the Government, allowing offices to be more easily converted into flats.
“These changes mean developers only now need prior approval, rather than full planning permission, to get change of use from office to residential.
“The council can only consider issues surrounding impact on traffic, ground contamination and flood risk, rather than the full range of issues it takes into account when considering planning permission.
“Earlier this year the council, along with almost every other outer London borough, asked the Secretary of State to make it exempt from these changes but unfortunately this request was denied.”
Just over a month ago Harrow The Hub Investments has made an application to convert two floors of offices in First National House, in College Road into 24 apartments.
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