Call for planning to allow shop conversions

Call for planning to allow shop conversions

A boom in converting shops to houses could get under way if the government accepts recommendations from the property industry to change planning rules. The British Property Federation (BPF) has thrown its weight behind suggestions that planning authorities should allow shops to be converted for housing in its response to government consultation.

 

BPF says giving councils greater flexibility to allow conversions would both support the High Street and provide a much needed increase in housing. High Street vacancy rates are currently averaging 14%, which equates to 250,000 empty shops in England alone, and housebuilding, despite recent sharp rises, is at historic lows.

 

BPF says that in order to ensure that change of use remains relevant and advantageous local authorities should strategically identify which areas should be designated for the more flexible approach and reflect the new zoning in their local plans.

 

BPF also wants councils to think more strategically about their retail areas. They say the process of gaining prior approval for change of use should be simple and concise, and include consideration of any particular retail property’s economic viability. They also want assurances from councils that conversions will not have a resulting impact on existing businesses.

 

The property trade body also wants permitted development rights to change retail units to banks and building societies, stipulating the necessity for greater clarity in defining what a bank or a building society is. They also want permitted development rights extended to changing agricultural buildings like barns to residential properties, stipulating that the upper threshold limit of 150 sq m may be conservative.

 

BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: “We are fully behind the provision of greater local authority flexibility to re class redundant shops for development into desperately needed homes. Other retail conversions that regenerate town centres by encouraging high street footfall would be a welcome breath of life for both the property industry and local communities.”

 

BPF would also support moves to convert shops for leisure and community uses.

 

Photo: Gwydion M Williams

Please rate

Comments 

Ctrl + Enter

Most Read

IR35 coming to the private sector in 2020

IR35 coming to the private sector in 2020

Due to changes introduced in the Autumn Budget, from autumn 2020, off-payroll working rules which have only been applicable to the public sector will be also implemented in the private sector as well. What this means, is that the end client (hiring manager) of a worker will now be in the position

Engineering in the UK: Outlook for 2019

Engineering in the UK: Outlook for 2019

Between 2015 till date, engineering has grown exponentially in the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe as a whole. This growth in the range of a 6% rise in number of UK engineering enterprises within the past couple of years has gone on to prove just how relevant to the economy engineers and the science

Updates on the HS2 project

Updates on the HS2 project

In our modern world where a good transportation network and an effective communication system are two important factors necessary for the growth of any community, the need for more accessible cities which cater for these needs optimally while also taking into consideration, the economic side of

This website uses cookies to enhance your user experience. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of these cookies. See our Cookie Policy.