Offices could become flats under gov't plans: FT

Unused office blocks could be converted into apartments without the need for time-consuming planning applications under government plans to be unveiled later this week, the FT reported Tuesday.

Planning Minister Nick Boles will explain that the "permitted development rights" will exclude shops and warehouses, and that the City of London will receive and exemption as the financial sector struggles to get back on its feet, the FT said.

Cities of Westminster and London MP Mark Field told the newspaper: "We've just had a once-in-a-lifetime financial crisis so it's hard to judge what the demand will be for office space in the coming years.

"I've made representations on behalf of the Square Mile for an exemption so I am delighted by this sensible move."

Over twenty percent of offices are unoccupied in some areas and the government hopes the new plans will relieve pressure on the housing market.

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