Boris clears planning red tape on change of use to housing
Boris Johnson is sweeping in radical reforms to the planning system to allow vacant buildings in town centres to be converted to housing.
Under the new rules, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily, in a move to kick start the construction industry and speed up rebuilding.
He also said the government will launch a planning Policy Paper in July setting out comprehensive reforms to England’s seven-decade old planning system to introduce a new approach that works better for our modern economy and society.
The changes which are due to come into force from September will allow a wider range of commercial buildings to change to residential use without the need for a planning application.
Also builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.
More types of commercial premises will be able to be repurposed without planning.
So a building used for retail could be able to be permanently used as a café or office without requiring a planning application and local authority approval.
Pubs, libraries, village shops and other types of uses essential to the lifeblood of communities will not be covered by these flexibilities.
Under the reforms property owners would also be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.
Johnson said the changes to the law, would both support the high street revival by allowing empty commercial properties to be quickly repurposed and reduce the pressure to build on green field land by making brownfield development easier.
Developers will still need to adhere to high standards and regulations, just without the unnecessary red tape.
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