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Source: London Assembly

Dear Editor,

The Covid-19 pandemic is not the only threat to our high streets. Amongst the Government’s proposals to overhaul our planning system are further attacks on our local shops. 

The situation is already stark with the Centre for Retail Research finding that almost 14,000 shops across the country pulled down their shutters for the final time, this year alone.

Despite this, ministers have just pushed through an expansion of permitted development rights, enabling retail and office space to be demolished to give way to flats. 

These proposals would also remove democratic control from councillors and bar local people from being able to formally object to these schemes which could permanently transform the face of our communities.

Whilst permitted development projects now have to abide by minimum space standards, they still do not have to be set at an affordable rent or provide outside space for tenants.

More permitted development and the gutting of our high streets is not the solution to our housing crisis. The Government must urgently have a rethink on this.

Yours,

Unmesh Desai AM
London Assembly Member for City & East London

MIL OSI United Kingdom