Legal curbs on office conversions at Clifton Moor set to be lifted

York Press: Legal curbs on office conversions at Clifton Moor set to be lifted Legal curbs on office conversions at Clifton Moor set to be lifted

LEGAL restrictions preventing offices on York's outskirts from being converted into residential properties are set to be lifted.

A City of York Council report has revealed that restrictive covenants were placed on to sale deeds for office developments at Clifton Moor in the 1980s, limiting the use to office only. The former York City Council imposed them when selling parcels of land.

But the report by Ian Floyd, director customers and business support, said that in more recent years, a number of these offices had only had partial tenancies and were considered by their owners to be difficult, if not impossible, to let.

"The quality of office accommodation that exists at Clifton Moor is by and large moderate to poor," he said. "Whilst there is increasing demand for city centre high quality office accommodation which is currently in short supply, at Clifton Moor the market has voted with its feet and there are a number of sites where CYC is being asked to vary or lift the covenants to convert them into residential schemes."

He said Clifton Moor was a key employment site and a reduction in office space across the city was a major concern, but there was an argument that lifting some restrictions could create more demand for the remaining space, which was currently under occupied.

"Legal advice has indicated that if the council refuses to vary the covenants, then landowners could appeal the decision at a tribunal under S 84 of the Law of Property Act 1925 where our decision may be overturned."

He said changes to the Planning Framework meant office-to-residential conversions no longer required planning permission, potentially leading to the loss of existing office accommodation.

"We are unable to exert much influence over this and a blanket lifting of the current restrictions at Clifton Moor could result in us losing space we cannot then get back if it is not carefully managed."

Instead, the council had developed a policy to set out principles applying to requests when the council received them, in order to manage the overall impact and attempt to drive as much quality into future housing developments and actively promote affordable housing.

Comments (6)

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1:49pm Wed 9 Jul 14

lezyork1966 says...

yeah lets lift restrictions, build some posh houses with prettye trees and managed groundworks so they can charge the big bucks, get mrs bouquet to move in who then complains about noise from the remaining industrial use of the site and then those business get served with noise orders as some posh moo in a frilly frock has moved in next door...

this is like when they converted old farm buildings and then the new 'residential' owners got restrictions on the farmer for having smelly cows!

ffs its a slippery slope, lets all get ready to say i told you so...
yeah lets lift restrictions, build some posh houses with prettye trees and managed groundworks so they can charge the big bucks, get mrs bouquet to move in who then complains about noise from the remaining industrial use of the site and then those business get served with noise orders as some posh moo in a frilly frock has moved in next door... this is like when they converted old farm buildings and then the new 'residential' owners got restrictions on the farmer for having smelly cows! ffs its a slippery slope, lets all get ready to say i told you so... lezyork1966
  • Score: -5

5:04pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Greencliffe says...

lezyork1966.... The properties will not be demolished, just converted. therefore they will never be expensive properties. It is much more likely to lead to wealth of affordable flats coming forward. Much better than leaving the property's sat there empty and rotting!!

Does not mean people won't complain of course about the Industrial, however it will really the offices suitable for conversion are clustered together at one side of the site and so should not suffer from the industrial activity.
lezyork1966.... The properties will not be demolished, just converted. therefore they will never be expensive properties. It is much more likely to lead to wealth of affordable flats coming forward. Much better than leaving the property's sat there empty and rotting!! Does not mean people won't complain of course about the Industrial, however it will really the offices suitable for conversion are clustered together at one side of the site and so should not suffer from the industrial activity. Greencliffe
  • Score: 7

6:31pm Wed 9 Jul 14

bloodaxe says...

Well as there doesn't seem to be a demand for them as office space why not convert them into apartments which would at least be affordable and close to shops, cinema and city. The nucleus of a satellite town perhaps.
Well as there doesn't seem to be a demand for them as office space why not convert them into apartments which would at least be affordable and close to shops, cinema and city. The nucleus of a satellite town perhaps. bloodaxe
  • Score: 6

8:09pm Wed 9 Jul 14

allijew says...

Student flats ...good bus service !
Student flats ...good bus service ! allijew
  • Score: 1

9:09pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Jack Ham says...

And parking, school places, transport links, GP's, dentists, employment, community facilities?

I do hope the landlords haven't deliberately made the properties unlettable in order to persuade a gullible local authority into changing use in order to make huge profits?

Considering all the #jobsandgrowth James Alexander keep telling us about I'm surprised Bloodaxe Crisp is so quick to support the removal of office space.
And parking, school places, transport links, GP's, dentists, employment, community facilities? I do hope the landlords haven't deliberately made the properties unlettable in order to persuade a gullible local authority into changing use in order to make huge profits? Considering all the #jobsandgrowth James Alexander keep telling us about I'm surprised Bloodaxe Crisp is so quick to support the removal of office space. Jack Ham
  • Score: -4

10:00pm Wed 9 Jul 14

york_chap says...

It seems a sound idea, but it strikes me as odd that this council, which is all about walking and cycling everywhere and not using cars, supports the idea of more residential properties out at Clifton Moor, as well as the recent article about the proposed 1,300 new homes even further out at Earswick. Yes there are buses, but householders living that far out will almost all have cars.

Perhaps sites like Nestle and the Teardrop site which are within easy walking/cycling distance of the city centre should be given priority. Also, I'm presuming it'd be infeasible to upgrade or replace the defunct offices with up-to-date ones?
It seems a sound idea, but it strikes me as odd that this council, which is all about walking and cycling everywhere and not using cars, supports the idea of more residential properties out at Clifton Moor, as well as the recent article about the proposed 1,300 new homes even further out at Earswick. Yes there are buses, but householders living that far out will almost all have cars. Perhaps sites like Nestle and the Teardrop site which are within easy walking/cycling distance of the city centre should be given priority. Also, I'm presuming it'd be infeasible to upgrade or replace the defunct offices with up-to-date ones? york_chap
  • Score: -1
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