Hackney backs conversion restriction order

A London borough has voted to introduce wide-ranging measures to restrict the government's relaxation of use class rules alongside new measures to ensure developers 'frontload sustainability into the design process'.

Stoke Newington (pic quite peculiar via flickr)
Stoke Newington (pic quite peculiar via flickr)

Earlier this week the London Borough of Hackney voted to adopt an Article 4 Direction (A4D), across the borough’s key town and shopping centres.

The measure means that for offices and shops in areas such as Dalston, Hackney Central, Stoke Newington and Hoxton, a developer would need to submit a full planning application for a change of use.

Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "The government’s proposals make it easier for developers to change the use of buildings on our high streets without seeking planning permission.

"Converting a high street building from high street uses to unaffordable housing will lead to the decline of our high streets. It is for this reason the council is implementing the Article 4 Directions to ensure that our town centres continue to thrive and prosper into the future as places where we can meet people and do business".

The council intends that the order will come into force next year.

At the same council meeting the borough also voted to adopt a new Sustainable Design and Construction supplementary planning document (SPD).

According to a council report, "developers often consider sustainability after and not as part of the initial design process".

It said the intention of the policy is "to ensure that all developments that come forward achieve a high design standard which ensures a high quality experience for the people that will be using and occupying the buildings for many years to come".

The report added that the policy seeks to "mainstream sustainability in the developmental design process, rather than it being a consideration after plans have been finalised. Hackney is therefore asking developers to frontload sustainability into the design process".

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