Radical new planning rules unveiled to rescue the high street
Radical new planning rules, which will allow local people to transform empty premises, have been announced in a bid to save the high street.
Planning Minister Nick Boles says that new “town centre first” planning rules will cut red tape and make it easier to bring empty and underused buildings back to life.
The recommendations, currently being published for consultation, are said to reflect the advice of the Portas Review, which called for more flexibility for change of use.
“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”, said the Minister.
“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”.
The new rules will allow local people to convert retail shops into residential homes, banks or building societies, and turn offices and hotels into nurseries.
The government said barns and other agricultural buildings could be also converted into new schools, nurseries, and residential homes.
The government hope that the proposals will help to create a quicker and more responsive planning system, boost economic growth and ensure green spaces and the countryside are protected.
Boles concluded: “Extending these permitted development rights on brownfield land will benefit all communities – whether in towns or the countryside”.