The government said new rules allowing the conversion of business premises into homes have come into effect, with the aim of providing much-needed residential properties and attracting visitors to main streets.
Here, we take a look at what the new rules include, why they might be considered good and bad for Mainstreets, and what residency experts have to say.
The government said the new town planning law allowed unused commercial buildings to be turned into homes.
It is hoped that this could encourage more people to live near local main streets and come to the area for work and play, “helping to cement our main streets and city centers in their rightful place at the heart of communities.” .
Is it with immediate effect?
The government is currently introducing a bill allowing England to assert this right from August 1, 2021.
Couldn’t developers already convert commercial to residential?
Yes. But the latest measures aim to speed up the process with less paperwork.
The new homes will be delivered through a simpler ‘pre-approval’ process instead of a full planning application and will be subject to high standards, ‘ensuring they provide adequate natural light and meet standards. space2.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “By diversifying our city and downtown areas and encouraging the conversion of unused stores into cafes, restaurants or even new homes, we can help the high street grow. adapt and thrive for the future.
Can unused commercial property be redeveloped?
The building that changes use must be vacant for three months before the filing date of the application, in order to protect successful businesses in these premises. Existing buildings will need to be 1,500 square meters or less.
Why would homes on or near Main Street be welcome?
Retailers with physical stores have long faced well-documented headaches, ranging from high trade rates to increasing competition from online businesses. This was before the coronavirus crisis brought more pressure to bear, with lockdowns hurting trade.
A number of vacancies are expected on Main Street, with a number of recent deals for chains such as Topshop and Debenhams including digital assets but not real estate. When homeowners cannot find replacement retailers to open stores or leisure operators to take over, turning empty sites into apartments could be seen as a potential alternative.
The government said the rules Jenrick announced “will help support the creation of much needed homes while giving main streets new life – removing horrors, remodeling unused buildings and making the most of brownfields.”
Are you having difficulty adding more homes on or near Main Street?
With the new homes, it is possible that the addition of more residents in an area will put increased pressure on local waiting lists for schools, nurseries and dentists. The loss of stores could also potentially mean less revenue for boards through trade tariffs.
What are the first thoughts of residential experts on the latest plan?
Jonathan Seal, managing director of developer Regal London, said: “We welcome today’s announcement that allows unused commercial buildings on our main streets to be turned into homes.”
He added, “There are no simple answers to revitalizing downtown areas. Instead, a carefully coordinated set of strategies is needed to make those places where people want to be, which are relevant to everyday life and just not about retail. Diversifying uses to include new homes is an extremely important part of any downtown regeneration. “
Nick Whitten, JLL Director of UK Life Research, says: ‘Covid-19 has transformed the way we work and play by having a profound impact on the types of buildings we need on our high streets . In the meantime, houses have become more important to us than ever before and, in simple terms, there is a fundamental housing under-supply in London. The demand for urban housing will rebound in 2021 with a growing appetite to return to social and lively urban centers, particularly driven by the younger generations. “
Whitten says, “Allowing the conversion of obsolete commercial buildings makes sense to provide much needed homes, provided the checks and balances are in place to ensure these homes are fit for the modern standard of living in the 21st century.”
Josie Parsons, Managing Director of Local Space, said: “As a charity primarily providing temporary accommodation to local authorities and housing for key workers in London, we naturally welcome any action to increase supply for tackle the UK housing crisis. ”
But Parsons said the charity was concerned about “the lack of any mechanism to ensure affordable housing is included in proposed developments under the RDP” (development rights allowed).
Parsons said, “While we certainly support the rejuvenation of our main streets, it must not come at the expense of providing housing for our key workers and some of the most vulnerable in society.”