Part of a nine-storey office block on top of a railway station could be turned into 200 new homes.
Milton Keynes Council has been asked to give approval to the conversion of part of Station House, at 500 Elder Gate, Central MK, under permitted development rights.
Bournemouth-based planning agent KR Planning has submitted a statement to the council on behalf of PD No 13 Ltd.
They say that because Whitehall has changed the rules to allow such conversions under permitted development rights, the council does not have grounds to decline the change of use.
“We are all aware of office blocks lying empty,” says the planning statement. “even in areas with buoyant commercial markets, with many becoming dilapidated.
“However, the clearest evidence of this oversupply is in the relative land values of commercial and housing land – in some cases housing land is twice the price of that for commercial uses.”
But they argue that the planning system has restricted changes in the past, which has stopped the market from providing more homes.
The statement adds: “The objective behind the changes to the GPDO is to allow land and buildings to more easily transfer to use as housing from their current office use. The intended effect of the proposal is to increase housing supply.”
And, by providing homes on already used land, it would help to reduce pressure for building in the countryside. “It will also promote the regeneration of commercial land and bring empty properties back into productive use,” the statement adds.
The planning statement adds that the 4,000-sq-m site also includes the entrance to the railway station, as well as ticket purchasing facilities, access to the platforms and numerous food and retail outlets in the ground floor. “These facilities will remain and are not part of this prior approval application,” the statement adds.