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.

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Recent comments

Good job Wandsworth!! I hope the new business rates don't kill off anyone who's left. Please put pressure on government to change property value taxes to tax on profits. There are still a few privately owned shops/cafes & bars left on Garratt Lane but they are lately dropping like flies.
Paige Barry

15 March 2017

Whole line of estate agents in Upper Richmond Road, Lavender Hill - business must be good - customers getting ripped off - think we have to avoid using estate agents for buying and selling our homes. Incidentally - there are no betting shops in the Kings Road, Chelsea (at least between Beaufort St & Sloane Square) - residents in that part of the world didn't get rich through betting shops and intend to hang on to their money.
Liz D

5 March 2017

Too late for Earlsfield's Garratt Lane estate agents' alley!
Celia Blair

3 March 2017

I hope the Council succeeds with this. Don't let anyone off the hook and please pressurize Sadiq Khan and Sajid Javid to lower the business rates for small businesses or make them relevant to the profits not the imaginary rental rate.
Jane Heany

3 March 2017

Thank you very much as there are far too many Estate Agents and Betting Shops on our streets. Let the Betting Shops relocate to the affluent areas of Knightsbridge and Kensington where the local residents can better afford to lose their money!
Robert Newell CVO

3 March 2017