The Government will consult “soon” on proposals to relax planning regulations to allow conversion of certain retail spaces into residential use, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.
Confirmation of this move also came in a report reviewing progress following publication of the Portas review of the future of the high street.
Mr Pickles told the RTPI Convention on 11 July: “Our consultation proposes to transform dormant out-of-date offices, empty shops and boarded up buildings into new homes. Bringing back to life our town centres.
“It will give rural communities new power to turn old barns and outhouses into new homes and businesses. Boosting the rural economy whilst protecting the open countryside from development.”
He said the administration’s planning reforms were bearing fruit. “Local plans are gathering pace. Some 73 per cent of councils now have published plans and the remainder is making real progress.
“Nearly 9 in 10 planning applications are getting approved - a 10 year high.
There have been fewer planning appeals, meaning good decisions and more local decision-making.”
18 July 2013
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