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Eversheds comment: Easier planning rules good for UK high street and housing

  • United Kingdom

    10-09-2013

    In response to reports that 400 new retail units were built in the UK in the first half of 2013, despite uncertainties over demand for retail space, Paul Moorcroft, partner at global law firm Eversheds, comments:

    “Whilst there is still a lot of uncertainty on the high street and in shopping centres, it seems to make little economic sense for planners to seek to slow development of new retail space development. In this market property investors will be highly confident in the long term viability of any new development to bother investing at all. Having new retail development must be generally positive even if it accelerates the regeneration of the bottom end of the retail market for other purposes.

    “For high streets unable to compete, there are some additional potentially significant changes ahead, which the Government is opening to a public consultation. The proposal is to create a more flexible planning regime that will allow retail space to be changed more easily to residential or other uses.

    “With the decline of many retailers’ physical presence visible to all, the proposed changes could support both the high street and housing agendas by allowing change of use to housing of shops that are no longer viable.”

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