Last week, the British Council for Offices (BCO) published new research on the impact of the office-to-residential permitted development right (PDR) (11.09.15).

Our intention was to provide an in-depth assessment of the PDR’s effect since it was implemented two years ago, and the figures show it to be significant.

Indeed, the analysis reveals a record level of office-to-residential conversions at a time when demand for office space is at a high. This means that, in many parts of the country, local authorities are ‘running to stand still’ on the provision of new office space.

With such a significant amount of office space being lost in England in 2014, our research demonstrates the need for the government to adopt a cautious approach when considering whether to extend the PDR beyond May next year.

While the challenge of addressing the UK’s current need for housing cannot be underestimated, what is clear is that widespread conversion of offices to residential risks looking to answer one issue by creating another.

Although the conversion of redundant offices into housing is a far more attractive option than their facing the wrecking ball, England’s economic future depends crucially on there being enough space for businesses to operate effectively.

Richard Kauntze, chief executive, British Council for Offices