Live near an office? You might be getting new neighbours without even realising it. Over the past couple of years, several under-used office buildings in CMK have been converted into residential apartments. This has come about due to a Government policy called Permitted Development, which allows office building owners to convert them into residential use without needing to get planning permission.
Although intended to ease the housing problem and help struggling town centres, this can also lead to problems for nearby residents. A few months ago some residents living near Grant Thornton House, one such office building, contacted the Town Council with concerns about how the plans would lead to parking congestion, noise disturbance and refuse disposal issues in their area. Unfortunately, the automatic nature of Permitted Development means that the Town Council is unable to object to most ‘office to resi’ conversions. However, these conversions often come with physical changes to the buildings which do require planning permission, so the Town Council can object to these where it is appropriate, as we did in the case of the Grant Thornton House proposals. However, in the six months since that objection Milton Keynes Council has not yet reached a decision on the plans.