Town Centres

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Latest Town Centres News

Reading town centre (pic: cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Oscar -

Gove reins in council’s attempt to disapply commercial-resi permitted development rights

The housing secretary has modified a bid by a Berkshire council to disapply controversial commercial-to-residential permitted development (PD) rights in parts of its area, with the minister claiming the authority had not "taken a sufficiently targeted approach" in its proposal.

London's Royal Courts of Justice (cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Robert Lamb -

Judge quashes 300-home town centre permission due to ‘poorly drafted’ local plan policy

The High Court has quashed a council's planning consent for a 300-home mixed-use scheme on a derelict town centre site, ruling that a "poorly-drafted" local plan policy meant a rival developer's challenge to the permission must succeed.

Michael Gove

Gove threatens to step in to boost London’s housing delivery

The levelling-up secretary has warned he may intervene to increase the delivery of housing in London, claiming the capital’s mayor has been unable to deliver “anything like the number of new homes that London needs”.

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Town Centres In Depth

Graffiti covered closed down pub The Fox in Haggerston, East London, in May 2022. Image: Mike Kemp/Getty

Why proposed new permitted development rights could speed up the loss of pubs

The government wants to introduce new permitted development rights to help reduce town centre vacancies. Commentators have questioned their likely effectiveness and some fear they may leave pubs vulnerable to conversions.

London's Central Activities Zone is one of the world’s most competitive business locations (Credit: Mike Kemp c/o Getty Images)

Why the government rejected a multi-council bid to block a new office-to-residential PD right

The housing minister has rejected an attempt by seven London boroughs to introduce an article 4 direction to block a new commercial-to-residential permitted development (PD) right in a key area of central London. Experts say the government wants to send out a message that councils will not be able to apply such directions across a wide area and suggest that authorities will need to do more preparation work to justify their opt-out bids.

A pub marquee (Jeremy Fennell c/o Flickr Creative Commons)

Why planners are concerned about a new permitted development right allowing pubs and cafes to put up tents and marquees

The government making permanent a permitted development right allowing pubs, restaurants and cafes to put up tents and marquees without the need for a planning application has prompted concerns among local authorities about the potential impact on residents, high streets and heritage buildings. But business groups say the move is crucial to aid a hospitality sector still struggling in the wake of Covid restrictions.

Maidenhead town centre (photograph: Mark Kerrison/Getty Images)

The implications of an NPPF tweak that makes it harder for councils to block permitted development rights

The updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets a much higher bar for councils seeking to secure article 4 directions removing residential permitted development (PD) rights, experts agree, and will require authorities to work harder to justify introducing them.