New Malden business centre latest target for Government's offices-to-flats plan

Surrey Comet: Montem Road in New Malden Montem Road in New Malden

An office block in New Malden could be the latest building converted into flats under controversial new planning legislation.

An application has been received by Kingston Council to convert Mitchell House, a three-storey office building in Montem Road, into seven one and two bedroom homes.

The application, by Planning Perspectives on behalf of Woodcote Estates, makes use of rules introduced by Communities secretary Eric Pickles in May which mean developers need only notify local authorities of change of use instead of applying for planning permission.

The Government says the change of law will help ease the housing crises by putting vacant office space back into use.

But it has been criticised by Kingston councillors, business leaders and assembly members, who say it does not allow residents a meaningful say and could drive away business.

Residents can still comment on the plan, and have until Friday, December 27 to do so.

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