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Progressive Alliance takes step forward to ban poor quality office conversions in Central Milton Key

A decision will be made next week to restrict developers’ rights when seeking to convert offices into poor-quality residential units in Central Milton Keynes.

A non-immediate ‘Article 4 Direction’ is expected to be approved at next Tuesday’s Delegated Decisions meeting, which means developers will have to apply for planning permission to convert offices into flats in the Central Business District of Central Milton Keynes (CMK).

Councillor Pete Marland, Leader of the Council, will take the decision: “It is outrageous that developers can convert our office space into awful apartments and the Council cannot do anything about it.

“That is exactly why we committed in our Council Plan to fight to ban poor quality office conversions in CMK, and I’m pleased that this decision starts that process.”

Without the Direction, developers could continue to convert office space into residential units without planning permission from the Council. This would reduce the funding developers would normally provide for local infrastructure and facilities, and undermine local planning control.

It would also reduce the available office stock in the area, and this is already falling - the amount of office floorspace in the District has declined 49,009 sq.m since 2013*. The continuous loss of office floorspace undermines the Council’s planning policies and development strategy for the District, which is meant to be the major office centre in the Borough.

Councillor Marland concluded: “The Progressive Alliance is not against all office conversions, but we are against those that are done poorly, and could harm the local area and economy.

“This Direction will make sure that local planning control is maintained, and that the Council has a say in the future development of the Central Business District.”

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