The reform of the planning system will mean there will be greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to change use without planning permission and create new houses from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.
Under the new rules, which are slated to come into effect by September, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily in a bid to help kick start the construction industry and speed up rebuilding.
The changes include more types of commercial premises having total flexibility to be repurposed through reform of the Use Classes Order.
Lifeblood of communities
For example, a building used for retail would be able to be permanently used as a café or office without needing a planning application and local authority approval.
However, pubs, libraries, village shops and other businesses that are the Government hailed as the “lifeblood of communities” will not be covered by these flexibilities.
The changes will also mean property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties through a fast-track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.
High street revival
It will also mean a wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application and 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.
It aims to support 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.
These new measures were announced as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s steps to rebuild the country and push economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will provide further economic updates, setting out the next stage in the plan to secure recovery next week (Wednesday 8 July) and the Government will use the forthcoming Spending Review and Autumn Budget to set the direction for the rest of the parliament.