Tag Archives: UK high streets

Can Widening Permitted Development Rights Solve the Crisis on the High Street?

by Hazel Nash

Recent announcements by Marks and Spencer, New Look and Debenhams as well as the purchase of House of Fraser by Sports Direct Founder, Mike Astley, signal that Britain’s high streets are struggling to stay relevant and attractive to residents, shoppers and visitors. Unsurprisingly, Chancellor, Philip Hammond, in the recent Autumn Budget (29th October 2018), emphasised the need to reform the planning system to encourage new businesses and homes. Consultation has begun with the publication of the Government’s Consultation Paper entitled: “Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes”.
Image of High Street
A UK High Street. Source: Federation of Master Builders

Permitted development rights (PDRs) have long been used as the means of enabling certain types of development and changes of use to be undertaken without the need for planning permission. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987,SI 1987 No.764 as amended and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, SI 2015 No. 596 as amended set out various uses of land and buildings and types of operational development respectively that do not require express planning permission. Effectively these developments[1], subject to the conditions and limitations set out in the legislation, are not considered to pose a risk or harm and therefore do not need to be controlled through the planning determination process. They are, to all intents and purposes, authorised as of right. Continue reading Can Widening Permitted Development Rights Solve the Crisis on the High Street?


Reconsidering and Repurposing the High Street: The Grimsey Review 2

by Hazel Nash

With the future of the House of Fraser uncertain following the contentious Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), discussions about the future of the high street have resurfaced with greater intensity.

High Streets lined with charity shops, banks, estate agents ... and empty units
High streets lined with charity shops, banks, estate agents … and empty units (Photo: C. Carter)

The publication earlier this month of the Grimsey Review 2 coincides with a Commons Select Committee inquiry into the future of high streets and town centres and the establishment of a new expert advisory panel on the future of the high street. Furthermore, a petition has been submitted to the Scottish Courts challenging the House of Fraser’s CVA on the grounds of unfair prejudice against certain creditors amongst other things (see Endnote 1). What is clear is that the retail industry is changing.  Whether entering into a CVA or an administration process, the result for the high street and for commercial landlords tends to be the vacating of premises and possibly long-term empty retail units. This does little for the health of the high street, often putting greater pressure on those surviving businesses. Indeed, taking the British Home Stores (BHS) premises as example, research undertaken by Cushman & Wakefield found that just 29% of old BHS stores have been relet or resold, leaving 102 premises empty two years on (Bourke, 2018). Continue reading Reconsidering and Repurposing the High Street: The Grimsey Review 2