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Mayor promises office-space protection for small firms

Managing an office brings many responsibilities, not least of which is ensuring that your premises are secure so everyone working within them is kept safe at all times.

There are many other regular challenges for office managers to overcome, such as maintaining inventory and making sure you keep up with the costs involved in running the premises.

Before any of these things become a concern, however, businesses have to make sure they have the office space they need to operate effectively.

Recent figures have suggested that this is becoming increasingly challenging, particularly in London.

City Hall data revealed that, between 2008 and 2015, a total of 14,567 office units in the capital were converted for residential use, equating to about 1.5 million square metres of lost floor space.

One of the key factors in this recent trend, according to London mayor Sadiq Khan, is the government's permitted development rights scheme, which allows uncontrolled office-to-residential conversions.

The City Hall figures showed that this resulted in the loss of 21,634 commercial offices, or nearly 1.5 million sq m of floor space, between 2013 and 2015.

Based on the assumption that 16 sq m of office space provides one job, the mayor said this process of allowing business premises to be converted into residential units could have cost nearly 94,000 jobs.

In response to the figures, Mr Khan announced a project to introduce new measures to protect and expand office space for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in London.

Specific steps include working with the government on potential changes to permitted development rights and amending the London Plan to better protect smaller firms and start-up workspace.

The initiative will also aim to promote the delivery of linked affordable housing and business space in new property developments.

Mr Khan said there is a clear need for new homes in the capital, but this should not come at the expense of space for businesses that can provide jobs and prosperity.

He argued that there should be an authoritative, carefully managed system in place to manage the release of office premises that are "genuinely surplus to commercial needs".
 "As mayor, I will be focusing on building new affordable homes on publicly and privately owned brownfield land, while changing the London Plan in order to protect viable business space and to create new start-up spaces in housing developments," Mr Khan added.

"There clearly needs to be more control over where office space can be converted to residential use. Over the next four years, I will be working to build the thousands of affordable houses we need in London at the same time as increasing the good-quality space available for small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs."

Once you have found the office space you need in the right location for your businesses, you can start looking into other important issues such as security arrangements to ensure your people and property are protected.

Consulting with a professional security provider can prove extremely useful when making these plans.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock/Cathy Yeulet 

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