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Concerns raised by Campaign for Better Harrow Environment over conversion of office blocks into flats
A campaign group has raised concerns over a number of proposals to convert empty offices into flats.
The Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment has highlighted a number of proposals which have recently been submitted to Harrow Borough Council.
Harrow The Hub Investments has made applications to covert two floors of offices in First National House, in College Road into 24 apartments.
Irene Wears, spokeswoman for the CBHE, said: “It is deeply ironic and flies in the face of the Localism Act, ‘putting power back where it belongs’, that local councils and residents are apparently to have no say in this sort of development."
She added: “After the work that went into the local plans, it is extremely disappointing that we have here something thrust upon us that does not comply with those plans in a number of ways, especially in terms of the creation of jobs and the provision of affordable housing.”
The group says First National House is one of several applications for office to residential conversion including Premier House in Wealdstone and Intershop House in Lowlands Road, Harrow.
Measures to make converting offices into homes easier were brought in by the Government earlier this year to provide more housing.
Mrs Wears said: “Within three months of the new rules, central Harrow is already committed to a total of 170 flats to be built with no quality control, no provision for affordable housing, amenity space or play space, and no commitment to employment and training.
“This creates a serious planning issue for Harrow which is already one of the more densely populated outer London boroughs.
“Important issues relating to the quality of life for residents of the converted building, including the amount of natural light, especially at some of the lower levels, also energy and sound insulation will need to be addressed.”
The Harrow Times has contacted Harrow Council about its policy towards office to residential conversion and is awaiting a reply.
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