Stories of struggling high-streets across the country are not new, but are new plans outlined by the Housing Secretary the way forward?

 

What is Being Proposed?

Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, has defined plans to extend permitted developments on the high street, in a bid to tackle store abandonment and ease the UK’s housing shortage. He has recommended ‘additional flexibilities’ which would make gaining permission for converting retail space into housing much easier. The proposal would also serve as an update to use classes to ensure they ‘capture current and future retail models’.

The proposed changes suggest:

  • clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area;
  • introduction of a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1); and
  • to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3)

Brokenshire said:

“We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses and to introduce a proportionate fee.”

“We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes.”

New regulations that will seek to implement some of these suggestions are set to come into effect on May 25th 2019.

 

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re a developer, then this could be great news for you. These small changes will make refurbishing a commercial property much easier and the looser rules on change of use will make high-street properties more desirable, especially when it comes to resale or letting.

For example, if you own, or are thinking of buying a hot food takeaway, you will soon be able to change it to residential use under permitted development rights. Alternatively, if you have a retail space, you could temporarily change its use to offices under the new regulations.

Furthermore, if you are an out-of-town destination and/or encourage ‘green’ concepts, you will soon be able to build tall electric vehicle charging points on your off-street parking space without needing to seek planning permission.

There has been some scepticism of the plans, as these change of use developments may take longer than a refurbishment of the same kind, and their location may mean a lack of amenities for new residents. However, we believe, if done correctly, this new regulation could see some great projects appear.

 

What About Permitted Development Finance?

Whether it will be under permitted development commercial rights or the more in-depth planning permission, if you’re planning a development or refurbishment project, we can help. Our brokers are experienced in finding competitive permitted development finance deals that are individual to each borrowers’ needs.

Get in touch today to see how our commercial finance experts can help you!