Decision on Utopia Village in Primrose Hill delayed again

Utopia Village in Chalcot Road. Picture: Sharedesk

Utopia Village in Chalcot Road. Picture: Sharedesk - Credit: Archant

Business owners waiting to hear whether they will be turfed out of their premises in Primrose Hill will have to wait another month after the government delayed its verdict for the second time.

Local government minister Eric Pickles was due to decide on the future of Utopia Village in Chalcot Road last Friday (October 31) in what has been described as a “test case” for opponents of relaxed planning laws making it easier to convert offices to homes.

A decision is now expected by the end of November.

Owners of the business complex, home to 22 businesses, appealed to Mr Pickles after their bid to have the offices converted into 53 luxury flats was rejected by Camden Council in December.

The latest delay comes shortly after a letter signed by a number of prominent business leaders and figures was delivered to Mr Pickles, warning him a recent “watering-down” of planning rules was “threatening to destroy communities forever”.

Primrose Hill residents Mary Portas, Alan Bennett and Baroness Joan Bakewell joined fashion and digital business leaders in calling for the department of communities and local government to “save Utopia Village”.

It comes after the government relaxed planning laws last year to allow offices to be converted into residential use without requiring full planning permission.

The government is seeking to extend the Permitted Development laws this year by opening up more business districts in London to the rules.