More extensive planning controls to protect shops from being converted into housing have been confirmed and will take effect from 1 August 2022.
These controls mean that a planning application will need to be submitted to convert any commercial space or shop into housing in key areas in the borough. This doesn’t mean that all conversions will be stopped, only that it will need specific permission.
A consultation took place last year, in which a clear majority supported the protection of Kingston’s commercial spaces, and a report was taken to the council’s Place Committee, In November. The council can now confirm that the planning control, called Article 4 Direction, will come into effect on 1 August 2022.
The borough’s existing planning controls, protecting offices from changing use to residential use, expire on 31 July 2022.
Cllr Roger Hayes, portfolio holder for Planning Policy and Community Engagement, said:
“Our town centres and shopping parades are an important part of our local community and local economy, which was brought to light even more during the pandemic. By taking this action and extending the protection to include more sites across the borough, ranging from high streets to small local hubs, we will be safeguarding them from development, enhancing our neighbourhoods and protecting jobs.”
The new Article 4 Direction covers the boroughs’ main town centres, local centres and industrial areas. For more details, a complete list, and maps of the covered areas, visit www.kingston.gov.uk/article4.
Further analysis of the areas and boundaries covered by the Direction is currently taking place, as requested by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). This is likely to result in changes to the areas or boundaries covered. If there are any modifications, the DLUHC will issue a Modification Notice to the council.
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