Last year government legislation was introduced that was designed to boost local economies and help with the housing shortage by making use of underused and empty office space – since then many planning applications have been made for both empty and occupied buildings by landlords.
Richmond Council recently wrote about these planning system changes that has led to 50,000 square feet of office space being lost to new homes in the borough. These plans initially only required ‘prior approval application’ meaning only the impact in relation to highways and transport, flooding and contamination is considered, not the greater effect on employment space and other local amenities such as school places. Plans now have the usual planning requirements but many have already been agreed – the temporary rule will end in mid-2016 but the effects will stay with us for much longer.
Being an area with particularly buoyant property prices, Teddington is seeing many applications to turn office space into residences. As well as plans for Livingstone House (14 flats), owners of the Goodrich House in central Teddington at 1 Waldegrave Road wish to convert office space into 15 two bedroom flats.
There are also approved plans for the offices above Dexters estate agents to turn into 4 flats and 8 flats in office space above the ex-Bottoms Up unit on The Causweay.
These are in addition to large new developments including 18 new houses and 8 flats at London Square on Waldegrave Road, 58 new homes under construction replacing the partly-occupied offices in Somerset House and the 219 new flats that will replace Teddington Studios and Haymarket Offices.
There is also pressure on other areas such as car parks – an application to build three town houses in Cairngorm Close car park has attracted many objections from nearby residents who feel that losing 24 of the 48 spaces will lead to (even more) parking issues in the area.