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‘Radical reforms’ have been promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow greater freedom for change of use of buildings and land in town centres. Cutting out the need for planning permission will mean new homes can be created through the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.
Under the new rules, it will be possible for existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, to be converted into residential housing more easily. Tis, said the Prime Minister, will kick start the construction industry and speed up rebuilding. The changes include allowing:
- More types of commercial premises to have total flexibility to repurpose;
- A wider range of commercial buildings to change to residential use without the need for a planning application;
- Demolish and rebuilding of vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings without the need for a normal planning application – provided the demolition property is to be rebuilt as homes.
- Additional space to be built above existing properties, if approved by a fast track approval process including neighbour consultation.
These changes are planned to come into effect by September through changes to the law. They come alongside a package of measures to support home building across England, including support the creation of 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next eight years, confirmed today.