Flats 'can be built above shops without planning permission'
The Government has introduced new measures to allow up to two flats to be built in office or storage space above shops without the need for planning permission.
The previous regulations only allowed for one flat to be created above a shop without permission.
The change is designed to help increase the number of homes in town centres and to get more people into the high streets.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "These are common sense planning reforms that will deliver more affordable homes in areas where there are good transport links whilst ensuring better use of existing developed land.
"Cutting this red tape should be a shot in the arm for the high street increasing footfall and providing a boost to regeneration."
The Government has also announced other measures designed to simplify the planning system such as allowing buildings to be temporarily re-used, streamlining the paperwork needed to make a planning application, and speeding up the appeal process.
The new permitted development rights came into force on 1st October. They apply to A1 (retail units) and A2 (financial/professional services units) commercial properties.
Please contact Kevin Walsh if you would like more information about planning and development issues.