Hackney Council’s new planning rules protect shops being turned into homes - bypassing government deregulation

Hackney Council brought in new rules this week to protect shops being turned into homes. Picture: Ha

Hackney Council brought in new rules this week to protect shops being turned into homes. Picture: Hackney Council - Credit: Hackney Council

Hackney Council has introduced new planning rules this week to protect shops and launderettes from being turned into luxury homes by developers.

The government’s permitted development rights mean developers can convert shops and launderettes into flats and houses without needing to apply for planning permission to change the use.

As well as avoiding the affordable homes quota, it means places like launderettes could be wiped out. Research shows launderettes are vital for those on low incomes or living in temporary accommodation.

But proposals agreed by the council’s cabinet will stop unchecked development in areas facing rapid change from Dalston to Chatsworth Road, Shoreditch and Stamford Hill.

The council says the new measures mean it can “throw its weight behind” keeping a range of diverse shops and businesses on all of the borough’s high streets. Smaller shopping centres like Dunsmure Road, Oldhill Street, Green Lanes, Hackney Downs and Clapton will also be protected.

Business chief Cllr Guy Nicholson said: “The council can’t control all development in the borough, but this will send a strong message that we will use the powers we have to protect and support Hackney’s thriving high streets and town centres.

“By removing the government’s short-sighted permitted development rights that allow landlords and developers to ignore local need and demand, these measures give residents and the council a say on what happens to the business spaces along the borough’s high streets – going a long way to protect these valued local services.

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“Everyone knows that there is a huge demand for more homes in the borough, but residents have also said that their town centres really matter.

“Ministers clearly think thriving town centres are created by pushing out local businesses.”