Clampdown on developers turning shops into housing

Broadway Market, which would be protected under the A4D

Broadway Market, which would be protected under the A4D - Credit: If you have not been credited to this image, please email List the reference number, your name or company name and we will place this in the credit area. Thank you

Hackney Council has approved a raft of proposals which they say will help protect small businesses by stopping developers turning work space and shopping centres into houses.

The plans agreed by the council’s cabinet, seek to place added planning protection, under the guise of an Article 4 Direction (A4D), across the borough’s key town and shopping areas.

A 21 day consultation is now being undertaken on the proposals, which if approved will not come into effect until 2016 after a 12 month notice period.

With an A4D applied to offices and shops in Dalston, Hackney Central, Stoke Newington and Hoxton, a developer will now need to submit a full planning application for any future change of use.

Previously a developer could change an office or shop into residential use without asking for planning permission from the local authority.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Converting a high street building from high street uses to unaffordable housing will lead to the decline of our high streets.

“Hackney’s high streets make a vital contribution to our local economy and to the vibrancy of the borough – they give it character and increasingly are attracting visitors from far and wide.

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“The Government’s proposals make it easier for developers to change the use of buildings on our high streets without seeking planning permission.

“It is for this reason the council is implementing the A4D to ensure that our town centres continue to thrive and prosper into the future as places where we can meet people and do business.”

Priority employment areas which are to be given A4D protection are Red Square, Shacklewell, Hackney Downs, Belfast Road, Anton Street, Tilia Street and Prout Street.

The A4D will be applied to all shop types, from traditional high street retail, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafés, leisure facilities and public houses.