Council uses new planning powers to protect high street shops
Published: Friday 3rd March 17
The council is to use its planning powers to give greater protection to shops and other retail outlets from being turned into estate agents.
Councillors want to ensure that local shops are not switched to financial sector businesses without good reason.
This means that Article 4 powers will be implemented to ensure that planning permission must be obtained before shops can be changed into financial or professional services businesses.
At present these changes are allowed without planning permission using what are known as “permitted development rights”. This change removes those “rights”.
The use of these Article 4 planning powers was recently applied to 120 of the borough’s most important and historic pubs, adding an additional layer of protection from their conversion to alternative uses.
And the council is also progressing plans that would see them used to prevent office or employment space being switched to residential use.
Strategic planning spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Shops that sell goods to customers are the lifeblood of our high streets. They provide vital services to residents and generate jobs and economic growth.
“We want to do what we can to support them and one way we can do this is by removing permitted development rights that mean retailers can be turned into businesses such as estate agents without planning consent.
“Under this new system, planning permission would be needed before this would be allowed. Offering this enhanced level of protection under planning laws is just one way we can help safeguard our local shops and keep our high streets vibrant.”
The new rules will apply to all the borough’s main shopping areas and other important shopping parades and are expected to come into force in August.
For more information about Article 4 Direction visit the planning pages on the council’s website.