Fears that new planning rules could stifle economic growth in east London have been allayed.

The Government is amending so-called Permitted Development Rights (PDR) in key business areas in the region exempting Canary Wharf, the City and Silicon Roundabout.

PDR was a move to speed up the creation of more homes with developers cleared to convert offices without planning permission.

Critics, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, had pointed out that such were the financial incentives selling houses that office space – of which there is a shortage – would vanish as developers looked to cash in on the property boom.

Mr Johnson lobbied the Minister for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis who has now announced he will amend the original proposals to ensure there is sufficient office stock.

The areas covered by the exemption include the commercial area north of the Isle of Dogs, the Royal Docks enterprise zones, the City and the City Fringe which comprises the the Tech City opportunity area.

Mr Johnson, said: “By agreeing to amend their proposals the Government are ensuring we will be able to maintain the full stock of quality office space required for our city to continue to prosper.”

Aerial view London City Airport (on a good day)

Liberal Democrat economic spokesman on the London Assembly Stephen Knight said he was unhappy by the piecemeal nature of the exemptions.

He said: “I am shocked at the Mayor of London’s enthusiastic support for these changes. It will force businesses out of London’s many town centres, especially in outer London.

“The big picture that the Mayor is ignoring is that permitted development rights are now being made permanent, when instead the whole policy should have been stopped. No longer will developers have to provide affordable housing at part of their schemes.

“It was regrettable that planning powers were ever taken away from London boroughs leading to commercial sites being able to convert to residential use without any need to seek planning permission or provide affordable homes.

“The policy is leading to town centres having businesses and jobs ripped out of them by homes that don’t require planning permission so are often lacking in minimum standards, let alone providing any affordable homes.”

The current exemptions will remain in place until May 2019.