Councils line up to fight government attack on town centres

Local authorities are fighting government attempt to allow town centre premises to be turned into housing without planning consent.

Local authorities across the country have begun fighting back against the government’s attempt to allow almost every premises in their town centres to be turned into housing without the need for planning consent.

Both the Town and Country Planning Association and the Royal Town Planning Institute have warned that the government’s expansion of Permitted Development Rights could decimate town centres, irreparably damage local communities, and wipe out essential local shops and services in favour of unregulated, sub-standard housing.

The City of London Corporation and Wandsworth, Kensington & Chelsea, and Richmond councils in west London are among the first to make what are known as Article 4 Directions, but others nationwide are following suit, according to the Local Government Association. Councils were only permitted to make the directions at the start of this month when the new rules came into effect.

An Article 4 Direction allows a local council to remove Permitted Development Rights across a certain area, however the notices will be deferred for a year while councils consult, while the final decision on the matter rests with the housing secretary Robert Jenrick, a key architect of the PDR expansion.

Image: Lunchtime on King Street, South Shields, courtesy Christine Johnson/ Commons.


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