Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

High street retail-to-resi mooted in ministry consultation

  • Comment

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has launched a consultation seeking views on whether high street shops could be redeveloped into different uses without planning permission.

The government has asked for views on whether to change permitted development rights, allowing for the adaptation of high street shops, including into homes.

The consultation document reads: “We are proposing new permitted development rights to allow existing premises in typical high street uses to change to a wider range of uses, allowing more leisure and community uses such as gyms, libraries, health care and office use as well as homes.”

Planning law currently allows for the change of office space into residential use without requiring planning permission, and the proposed change outlined in the consultation would extend that right to retail spaces.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors published an analysis in May however, which found that office-to-residential conversions under permitted development had contributed to a “higher number of poor quality housing”.

Dr Ben Clifford at the Bartlett School of Planning said: “The idea of reusing vacant office space as housing is a good one. The way this is currently governed as ‘permitted development’ in England is, however, highly problematic.”

The shadow minister for planning responded to the consultation, saying that the proposals were “hardly the big steps we need to revitalise our high streets”.

Roberta Blackman-Woods (Lab) said: “Instead of deregulating town planning laws – which will only hasten the disappearance of high streets and encourage property speculation – plans should go through a proper planning permission procedure to ensure that local people are able to have a say in how their high streets look and feel.”

The consultation was published simultaneously with the launch of a new £675m fund flagged in chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget on Monday which seeks to support councils interested in high street regeneration projects. Councils can bid for funding by submitting proposals which set out a vision for their future high street.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.