Birmingham fails to secure exemption from new office to residential rules
Birmingham fails to secure exemption from office to residential rules
25th May 2013
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced 17 Local Authorities have been successful in applying for exemption from the controversial scheme to enable empty commercial properties to be converted into residential use without planning permission.
The City of London, Westminster, Southwark and Camden, Vale of the White Horse, Stevenage, Ashford, Sevenoaks, East Hampshire and Manchester are amongst those which have been excluded.
However, Birmingham City Council has failed in its efforts to preserve key districts it had identified as economically important and will now have to comply with the new rules, which come into effect at the end of May 2013.
This will come as a blow to the Council as commercial properties, even when empty, create a higher revenue stream through property taxes compared to residential buildings.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said “We recognised that there may be exceptional economic circumstances which would justify exemptions. Following a thorough assessment of cases submitted, this change will not apply to areas in 17 local authorities, as set out in the secondary legislation.”
He added: “We’re providing a great opportunity for outdated, redundant or underused offices to be brought back to life by converting them into homes – protecting the green belt and countryside.”
But with a reported 26,000 people sitting on its housing waiting list and an estimated 80,000 new homes required over the next 20 years, the new Government initiative will now provide a much needed housing boost Birmingham so badly needs, removing the unnecessary pressure being placed to build 10,000 new houses on the Sutton Coldfield green belt.
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