News & insights
You can rely on our commercial searches for potential high street homes
New rules making it easier for commercial
buildings to be converted into residential homes have come in to force this
month. As part of government plans designed to revitalise the UK’s beleaguered
high streets, it’s now possible to transform an unused commercial building such
as a former shop or café into a home without going through a lengthy planning
application process first.
According to recent research from estate
agents Keller Williams, the demise of the UK’s retail industry – speeded up by
the pandemic - has left obsolete premises with the potential to provide nearly
25,000 homes to a market value of £7.4bn.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the
new rules, which were announced in the spring but came into force on August 1st,
would help support the creation of ‘much-needed homes’ while also revitalising
England’s ‘cherished high streets and town centres.’
He predicts the move will encourage more
people to live near local high streets and as a result come to the area for
work and leisure, boosting town centres ‘in their rightful place at the heart
The new rules mean homes would get the
green light through a simple ‘prior approval’ process. Although there will
still be rules in place to ensure new properties offer adequate natural light
and meet strict space regulations.
Unused commercial buildings must have
been vacant for three months before the date an application is lodged for
change of use, and the rules apply to buildings of 1,500 square metres of
floorspace or less.
While the relaxation of planning laws
means less red tape when it comes to converting a property, a prudent approach
is still crucial to your commercial property conveyancing obligations, which is
where Thames Water Property Searches can help.
Our technology also makes ordering easy,
by suggesting searches relevant to each commercial property. We’ll offer a
flood search if the property is in a flood-prone area, for example and can even
offer company searches when involved in commercial property transactions.