From another thread................
Food for thought....?...Our High Street does strangle beyond sustainability...........
Councils to lose powers over high street planning under government proposal
Minister to suggest allowing shops to be converted into homes without planning permission
Boarded-up shops in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
Town halls face losing significant powers over the future of their high streets under Whitehall plans to
allow shops to be converted into homes without planning permission.
In a move that signifies the widening acceptance that changing shopping habits and the economic
downturn have sent the British high street into rapid retreat, the planning minister, Nick Boles, will
this week propose scrapping existing rules protecting shop units, including banks and building societies,
and allowing them to become housing.
He wants owners to have "permitted development rights" to make the transformation, in the same
way that the government has allowed residents to build extensions of up to eight metres without
applying for planning permission.
Local authorities will be asked to decide which shops should be considered "prime retail frontage"
while the rest could be scrapped. There are around 7,000 empty shops in London alone and last
year one senior retailer, Phil Wrigley, chairman of Majestic wine, admitted the high street was in
"a death spiral".
Boles said: "People's shopping habits are changing very fast as a result of the rise in internet
shopping and changes in lifestyles and working patterns. We need to think creatively about how
to help town centres thrive in this new era. We want to encourage local councils to concentrate
retail activity into the prime shopping streets in the heart of their town centres and adopt a more
relaxed approach to under-used retail frontages." - See more at: http://www.dover.uk.com/forums/dover-forum/all-change-at-the-town-council?p=7#sthash.xQHWtKg4.dpuf