Belfast Telegraph

'Lack of funding' stopping empty office space being converted into homes

Planning applications for office to residential conversions have fallen by a fifth in the past year, according to a new report.

A lack of bank funding is restricting the number of projects, it was claimed, with the number of applications in England falling from 999 in the last quarter of 2014 to 793 in the same period last year.

Liam Brooke, of funding firm Saving Stream, which conducted the research, said: "Given how substantial the housing shortfall is in the UK, it's frustrating for everyone that a hugely successful method of bringing new homes to the market is being hamstrung by a lack of funding.

"Fashionable converted properties attract large numbers of buyers. The issue is that developers simply aren't getting the finance they need to supply them.

"The problem is particularly bad in densely populated areas or areas where the housing shortage has had a particularly bad effect, such as the South of England. It makes little sense that there is a huge amount of space occupied by empty commercial buildings which could easily be turned into homes - if only the funding was there."