Search News

Results: 91-100 of 2825

Start again

27 Apr 2021

Defra has just confirmed that the amendments to the Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) Order 2015 will not be coming into force on 30th April 2021 as originally...

26 Apr 2021

A summary of what each party's manifesto will mean for small shops ahead of the Welsh Parliamentary elections on 6th May.

23 Apr 2021

A summary of what each party's manifesto will mean for small shops ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 6th May.

22 Apr 2021

Maybe* investigate how Aldi used their #freecuthbert campaign to drive social media engagement and brand sentiment.

22 Apr 2021

Total online job ads hit 100% of their February 2020 average level, a rise of three percentage points from a week earlier. If you're looking to take on new staff look no further than the ACT job...

22 Apr 2021

Members of the IRC and wider retail industry comes together to tackle verbal and physical abuse against shopworkers  

14 Apr 2021

Maybe* take a look at how two independent businesses have used social media tactics to drive their businesses forwards.

14 Apr 2021

High streets across England and Wales have witnessed an immediate comeback in footfall as non-essential retailers reopened on Monday for the first time in over three months.

13 Apr 2021

The DfT has announced £18 million for Bikeability cycling proficiency training scheme, which fits in well with Local Bike Shop Day's aims of encouraging children to cycle back to school

9 Apr 2021

The APPGCW's e-scooter trials meeting will take place on 23rd April, and the special event with Jeremy Vine, Isabel Hardman and Peter Walker about their recent book releases will be on 29th...

Back to news menu

Leading industry bodies urge Government to abolish bid to turn city centres into homes from home

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News , Political News

LParliamenteading industry bodies, including The ACT, ActSmart and many other members of the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), have issued a joint letter today to The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP - Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) - to urge the Government to recognise that its proposals for a blanket permitted development right on our high streets, enabling conversions to residential without planning permission, puts the future of our town centres at serious risk.

The coalition of industry bodies - comprising 27 leaders from across the property, retail, leisure, hospitality and planning sectors - believes strongly that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside businesses and the community.

While the residential sector will play a vital role in future town centre recovery, the Government's proposed new PDR will encourage delivery of new homes in an uncoordinated manner on our high streets, threatening the existence of community services, education, healthcare and leisure, among others.

Read the story in The Times here.

The full letter to the Secretary of State, including a full list of the organisations that have signed it, is as follows:


The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP

Secretary of State

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

2 Marsham Street



11 February 2021

Dear Secretary of State,

Proposed new Permitted Development Right

As representatives from across the economy and society, we believe passionately that town centres must be planned by local authorities working alongside business and the community.

It is well-recognised by your department that the best town centres do not just happen but require active co-ordination at a local level. The NPPF policies support this approach, as do the objectives of the High Streets Task Force and the guidance for both the Towns Fund and the Future High Streets Fund. Blanket permitted development rights for E Use Class to residential would damage these objectives for relatively minimal returns on additional housing stock.

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.

Putting ground floor housing in a random and uncontrolled manner within high streets does not draw footfall, does not support new businesses, reduces the potential for business growth and will undermine the viability of existing retail, cultural and commercial activities on the high street and remove convenience stores from local neighbourhoods. This will create a vicious circle whereby the reduced viability of the remaining commercial uses in turn threatens their existence and incentivises their conversion to residential.

At the neighbourhood level, we consider that local centres would be particularly at risk. The loss of local shops and services could precipitate their decline at a time when we are putting greater emphasis on the need for walkable neighbourhoods which provide a range of day-to-day needs in local centres. A change of use to housing is a one-way trip.

The policy puts the premises of small businesses at risk of redevelopment, will impact the real diversification of the high street and could threaten the existence of E Use classes uses such as financial and legal services, health centres, GP surgeries, Post Offices, community centres and hubs, gyms, leisure facilities, education, co-working spaces, and life sciences and deter other innovations coming into town centres.

Light industrial premises and the jobs and services they provide could be converted to residential, even though the locations could be far from the facilities and public transport residents need.

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.

You may be aware of concerns being raised about the lack of democratic oversight arising from the extensive use of permitted development rights. In the recent White Paper, you highlighted that the planning system has lost the public's trust. We are concerned that the extensive use of permitted development rights in the manner proposed without democratic oversight will lead to a further erosion of public trust and confidence in the planning system.

We therefore ask you to consider re-evaluating this policy. Instead, we believe more support should be given to local authorities to develop their own renewal plans, under clear direction in national policy. There is certainly the will and enthusiasm at a local level. What is often lacking is resource.

We all stand ready to support your aspirations for economic recovery, but we also all have an over-riding duty to our communities to build back better.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Harrison, Executive Director, ActSmart

James Lowman, Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores

Christopher Hall, Executive Director, Association of Cycle Traders

Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive, Association of Town and City Management

Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland

Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, British Independent Retailers Association

Melanie Leech CBE, Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium

Jim Winship, Director, The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association

Karen Dear, Director of Operations, Craft Bakers Association

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, CPRE ‘the countryside charity'

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association

John Farrand, Managing Director, Guild of Fine Food

Mark Walmsley, Chair, Independent Retailers Confederation

Simon Quin, Co-Chair, Institute of Place Management

Bill Addy, Chief Executive, Liverpool BID Company

Peter Eversden MBE, Chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Corrine Stuart, Chief Executive, National Craft Butchers

Gary Wroe, Chair, National Association of Jewellers

Stuart Reddish, National President, National Federation of Independent Retailers

Joe Harrison, Chief Executive, NMTF

Mike Kiely, Chair, Planning Officers Society

Prof. Alan M Jones, President, Royal Institute of British Architects

Matthew Howell, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, RICS

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association


Back to news menu

Useful links

If you have any other queries please contact us.