Shop to Flat Conversions

Wednesday 9 October 2013, 10:00am

Motion detail

This Assembly calls on the Mayor of London to lobby the Government to reverse its proposal to allow the conversion of shops into flats without planning permission. 

This Assembly warns that the proposed permitted development rights may seriously impact on both Inner and Outer London Boroughs by:

1. Creating hope value for retail premises in London whether viable or not, driving up rents for small businesses;

2. damaging the integrity of some retail areas in London, leaving shops isolated from one another by unsuitable residential properties; and

3. generating sub-standard quality of residential units, as Planning Authorities will have no control either over the size and mix of dwellings, nor over provision of infrastructure or standards.   

This Assembly recognises that our town centres must adapt in order to thrive, and that injecting larger residential elements could be beneficial by utilising redundant space and increasing footfall. Many local authorities are already doing this. However, such a move must be done in a plan-led way to avoid destroying the integrity of retail areas in London.

As well as secondary frontages of town centres, at most risk will be corner shops, local parades, and some neighbourhood shopping centres, which are often at the core of local communities. Because the change of use cannot be applied selectively, this will not spare those shops which are thriving. 

This Assembly calls on the Mayor to lobby Government to reverse this proposal to avoid serious damage to London’s economic growth, social inclusion, and quality of housing, all to the detriment of localism.