Barnet's Labour councillors have slammed plans to turn offices in Barnet House into miniscule flats as small as 16 square metres - more than half the national minimum space standard for a single person (37sqm).
The plans for the 254 flats over eleven floors - 96 per cent of which will be smaller than 37sqm - have been highlighted in a Guardian article published yesterday.
Changes to the permitted development rules brought in by the last Conservative-led government mean that office blocks can be converted to residential properties without complying with planning policies on minimum space standards or contributing any affordable housing.
Labour councillors opposed the extension of permitted development rights in a motion to Full Council in September 2014, which the Conservative councillors abstained on.
Labour's Housing spokesperson, Cllr Ross Houston said: "These rabbit hutch homes would turn Barnet House into a human filing cabinet with people squeezed in to tiny spaces.
"John Healey, Labour's Shadow Housing minister, is right to criticise this development as an example of Tory planning policy giving developers a free hand to bypass proper planning process.
"The Barnet Tories refused to vote for our motion opposing the extension of permitted development rights when the Government first proposed this, so it's a bit rich for the Council Leader to now say it's out of his control."
1. A copy of the application for permission to convert Barnet House into flats can be found here: https://publicaccess.barnet.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OM6T6HJI0BO00
2. The Guardian coverage of this proposed development: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/27/dog-kennel-flats-barnet-house-smaller-than-travelodge-room
3. Details of Labour's motion opposing extension of permitted development rights - including minutes showing the voting:
For more information contact Cllr Ross Houston: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568