Retail-to-resi town centre plans unveiled

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
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Plans to allow developers to turn boarded-up High Street shops into new flats and houses without planning permission have come out for consultation.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said the new “town centre first” planning rules would cut red tape and make it easier to bring empty and underused buildings back to life, revitalising high streets and rural towns.

The proposals reflect the advice of the Portas Review, which recommended more flexibility for change of use, and would help the high street, rural communities and local retailers by increasing footfall and spending.

Boles said: “Thousands of empty and underused buildings, often on the edge of town centres, are going to waste because people do not want the hassle and uncertainty of submitting a planning application.

“Removing this barrier will bring more people closer to their town centres, providing a much needed boost to local shops and ensuring we make the most of buildings that are already there for new homes, nurseries and schools this country needs.”

Extending these permitted development rights on brownfield land will benefit all communities – whether in towns or the countryside.

Proposed rules would allow conversions from:

  • retail to residential
  • retail to banks and building societies
  • agricultural to residential
  • commercial to nurseries
  • agricultural to new schools and nurseries

Extending permitted development rights will mean a quicker and more responsive planning system and using empty buildings and previously developed land will help boost economic growth while ensuring that green spaces and the countryside are protected.

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