Laura Sharman 11 February 2021

Coalition warns 'uncontrolled conversions' will damage high streets

Coalition warns uncontrolled conversions will damage high streets image

A coalition of industry bodies have warned the Government's proposals for blanket permitted development right will damage high streets and add extra financial burdens on local authorities.

The group have written to local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, highlighting the risks posed by allowing conversions to residential without planning permission.

The letter argues that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside businesses and the community.

The letter states: 'We welcome Government recognition that our town centres must change, but an all-embracing permitted development right that allows most commercial buildings to be converted to housing risks putting the long-term health of our town centres at risk for the sake of a short-term stimulus.'

It adds: 'Financially, the proposed permitted development right reduces local authorities’ ability to raise funds to mitigate the impact of conversions due to loss of planning gain, yet increases the pressure on local services, such as schools and other social infrastructure.

'In a relatively short time, it could also make a significant dent in local authority finances as council tax generally results in a lower contribution to local authority finances than business rates for the same size property.'

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