An enterprising developer has already spotted an opportunity in London’s railway arches, by taking advantage of the expansion in permitted development rights.
Two railway arches in Walworth are being converted to residential use, after the developer received consent from Southwark borough council. Southwark planners reportedly wanted to challenge the move, as they wanted to see proof the arches had actually been in commercial storage use; but they were too slow, and missed the 56 day deadline for submission.
Tom Copley, Labour member of the London Assembly, was critical of the move: “Permitted development is not only leading London towards a crisis in office and commercial workspace, it is allowing some property owners to cash in renting ‘homes’ that are wholly unsuitable for living in. The government must urgently revisit permitted development rights and allow London an opt out. If this case doesn’t make ministers think again, what will?”
LPA Perspective: The law of unintended consequences applies, via the government’s new permitted development rules.
Homes in a railway arch are bound to be not only unpleasant, they are also likely to be unhealthy. To eliminate the all-encompassing dampness, you’ll need to run a full artificial ventilation system; to eliminate the all-encompassing darkness, you’ll need permanent artificial lighting.
And that’s before you’ve coped with the noise. Of the trains, that is – at least they’ll drown out the thrum of the ventilation system.