Developers could be stopped from turning offices into flats without full planning permission in Haringey town centres.

The council will consult on removing permitted development rights – which allow the conversions to go ahead – in growth areas and district centres.

If successful, it could stop conversions taking place in parts of Tottenham, Wood Green, Crouch End, Finsbury Park and Muswell Hill.

It comes amid concerns over the loss of key employment space and the quality and affordability of homes created by the conversions.

Permitted development rights, introduced by the Government in 2013, allow developers to turn offices into flats without planning permission.

The legislation was aimed at boosting the housing supply – but it also means developers carrying out the conversions do not have to provide any affordable homes or follow national standards around the minimum size of rooms.

In Haringey, 500 homes have been given permission using permitted development rights since they were introduced, according to a council report.

This has led to the loss of more than 22,000 sq m of employment floorspace – which council chiefs claim could have accommodated more than 1,100 full-time workers.

Councils can remove permitted development rights using tools known as article 4 directions.

At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (March 10), councillors agreed to use a ‘non-immediate’ article 4 direction covering parts of the borough, meaning the council will now hold a public consultation on the plans.

Council bosses need to provide evidence of the harm caused by permitted development rights – otherwise the Government can intervene and stop article 4 directions going ahead.

The council is focusing on limiting the current article 4 direction to growth areas and metropolitan and district centres, as it can provide more evidenced of harm in these areas.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, cabinet member for environment Cllr Kirsten Hearn (Labour, Stroud Green) said: “We want to stop offices being converted to residential units.

“Doing this uses vital office space, and the residential units are often substandard – and in some cases, closer to rabbit hutches.

“We can’t do the whole borough at once, because the Secretary of State would challenge it. We have got to do it in stages. We are starting with this one.”