Westminster City Council has invoked “Article 4” powers to ban permitted development right schemes.

The move means that planning permission will now be required to turn offices into flats from 1 May.

The council said in its weekly newsletter that it wanted to “protect workspace and limit residential conversions in the West End, Victoria and Paddington”.

Under national planning policy, offices can be converted to homes without planning permission through permitted development rights.

The council’s new policy will ensure that even after the government makes the relaxation of planning controls for these changes of use permanent, full applications for planning permission will be required by Westminster so it can take decisions based on all the relevant issues – and where appropriate protect office space.

Consultation on this Article 4 direction ran from 20 February until 6 April 2018.

In May 2013, permitted development rights were temporarily extended by the government to allow for a building to be changed from commercial to residential use. The change was made permanent in autumn 2015