A plan to turn an office block into more than 200 flats has met with a wave of opposition from councillors and neighbours.

Ability Developments wants to convert Alexandra House in Station Road, Wood Green – currently an office building used by Haringey Council – into 219 flats.

More than 70 objections have been made by members of the public, many warning the units would be too small for their occupants.

While exact room sizes are not included in the planning documents, dividing the total floor space by the number of units shows many would fall well below the 37 sq m minimum space standard for new residential developments.

But the council can do little to halt the plans due to ‘permitted development rights’, introduced by the Government in 2013.

These rights mean offices can be turned into flats without planning permission – and the developer does not have to follow the usual floorspace standards.

Haringey’s council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor (Labour, Bruce Grove) said: “The plans to convert this office space in Wood Green into 219 ‘rabbit hutch’ flats are appalling.

“Permitted development is a national disgrace and is symbolic of partial and biased planning regulations, and a broken housing market.

“This legislation has taken power away from democratically elected local decisionmakers and handed it to developers – whose main worry is, of course, their shareholders.”

Haringey Council previously applied to the Government for an exemption from permitted development rights for metropolitan town centres like Wood Green – but it was turned down.

Several other councillors – Labour and Liberal Democrat – have lodged objections to the proposed scheme on the council’s planning portal.

Cllr Tammy Palmer, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Tottenham, raised concerns over the size and standard of the flats.

She wrote: “I am no clearer on whether units will include the relevant facilities to ensure a decent standard of living, be that a decent kitchen or bathroom.

“We urgently need family homes in Haringey that are of a decent size and are affordable. This development offers neither of those things.”

Cllrs Lucia das Neves and Mark Blake (Labour, Woodside) write: “The building is neighboured by several commercial office blocks, in an already busy, traffic-laden road, near a busy bus garage. The potential for noise and pollution is clear.

“[The flats] will be cramped, single-occupancy shoe boxes, many with little natural light.”

Catherine West, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hornsea and Wood Green, adds: “It is completely inappropriate to seek to create so many units in such a small space.

“It raises serious questions about the quality of the accommodation and the impact such space constraints would have on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

Several similar planned office-to-flat conversions – such as Refuge House in neighbouring Enfield – have recently met with strong local opposition.

Ability Developments and The Conservative Party were approached for comment.