Manchester exempt from office to resi conversions

MANCHESTER has won an exemption from government proposals to allow offices to be converted into flats without planning permission.

The government believes the move will increase housing supply and will introduce the change on May 30.

The council argued that the loss of office space in the city could restrict future economic growth in Manchester and the wider area.

There is around 15 million sq ft of office space in the city and the council says economic growth over the next 15 years is predicated on further large scale commercial development. It is one of 17 local authorities that has won an exemption including the City of London.

The government had said it would consider exemptions on two grounds – to prevent the loss of a nationally significant economic asset; and to prevent substantial local economic impacts that are not outweighed by the benefits of new homes.