The Government could scrap red tape in order to encourage ‘meanwhile uses’ of empty buildings, transforming them into new shops, business start-ups, and community projects.
Empty properties can lead to a spiral of decline, spoil high streets, and act as a magnet for anti-social behaviour. Meanwhile uses are a way of putting a vacant space back into good use for the benefit of the whole community while a permanent solution is found.
Minister Greg Clark believes that it should be easier for businesses and communities to arrange “meanwhile uses” for empty buildings without having to jump through unnecessary hoops in the planning system.
Mr Clark signalled that the Government could scrap rules requiring costly and time consuming planning permission in order to temporarily change the use of empty buildings, as part of a future wider review on deregulating the used class orders system.
This could help reinvigorate local high streets, encourage community enterprises; support entrepreneurs to start-up, contribute to economic growth; and help build stronger, more vibrant communities.Removing the need for planning permission to temporarily change the use of empty buildings could be a key part of a future Government consultation on deregulating the use class order system.
The Government wants to hear similar ideas and views on how the ‘change of use’ part of the planning system can be improved.The Government is already working to cut down planning bureaucracy and has announced a full review of national planning policy by 2012.
For example it is already consulting on allowing commercial property to be changed into residential property without needing planning permission.This could create 70,000 new homes over the next 10 years.