Property: Converting high street shops to homes with extra storeys has 'complications'

It will now be possible to convert high street shops to homes, something previously banned under British law. There will be no need for full planning permission under the new laws. The move reflects the steady decline of the high street in Britain.’s property expert Louisa Fletcher commented on the overhaul of planning regulations.

She said: “As consumers shopping habits and more streets are left with empty retail and commercial units, enabling developers to re-purpose these sites quickly and more efficiently to create homes would appear to make sense.

By utilising available brownfield land in towns and cities to provide the housing we desperately need, hopefully this will preserve the precious greenfield sites around our towns and cities and help to contain urban sprawl.

That said, for the initiative to work, homes built under these new planning laws need to be good quality and affordable – two words which sometimes don’t sit together easily when it comes to new homes development.

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“Careful thought needs to go into the repurposing of existing industrial estates for housing, for example.”

Louisa went on: “Looking at the legislation to allow home-owners to add up to two storeys on an existing property under the overhaul of Permitted Development Rights, I suspect this could create unforeseen complications for some homeowners if they don’t do their research properly in advance.

“This isn’t a straightforward project, and there are serious considerations to take into account, such as load bearing calculations; you can’t just ‘pop’ another storey on the top of an existing building and hope for the best.

“These plans will still be subject to a form of ‘fast track’ permission that will be subject to neighbour consultation, and building regulations approval – or building control – will still be needed to ensure safety and integrity of construction.”

The new rules are likely to be a response to the decile of the high street, which has been further exacerbated by the coronavirus.

Additionally, the property market has been hit by the virus.

Data has predicted the average house price will plummet by £30k. 

This year property values are set to fall by 2.4 percent. Next year the prices will fall by a further 11.7 percent, a huge blow to British property owners.

The average British home is worst £230,000 currently, but this will slump down to £200,000 if these forecasts are to be believed.

The government has attempted to tackle the affects of coronavirus on the property market.

Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday plan has caused asking prices to sky rocket temporarily. 

The latest house price index from property search portal Rightmove suggests that the average asking price of properties coming to the market over the last month has hit the highest levels since the index began.

The report points to an average increase of 2.4 percent on the previous record-high asking prices in March pre-lockdown, and a 3.7 percent annual rise which is the highest since December 2016.


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