Posted: 06.08.21 at 16:42 by Ellie Brown
Teddington high street is due to get extra protection against residential developments, as Richmond Council fights to secure the borough's town centres and shopping parades that it says are left vulnerable by new government planning laws.
In a press release released on Wednesday (4 August) the Council confirmed it has taken action so that developers will not be able to use a Permitted Development Right to convert commercial premises into houses or flats.
Recent government changes in planning rules, which came into force on 1 August, means that commercial premises such as shops, cafes, offices and gyms could be transformed into residential spaces without the need for planning permission - using the Permitted Development Right.
But these spaces "are essential to support our local communities" the Council said.
And while applications would need Prior Approval from the authority, there are limited grounds for refusal and the Council would not be able to consider the impact on vibrancy, vitality and viability.
Because of this, Richmond Council has now made a 'non-immediate Article 4 Direction', blocking the use of Permitted Development Rights for change of use from class E (commercial, business and service uses) to C3 (dwellings and houses).
The Direction was made on 30 July and applies to 67 designated areas or specific properties within the borough including the centre of Teddington and the majority of the borough's local parades.
Richmond, Twickenham, East Sheen, Whitton, St. Margaret’s, Hampton, Hampton Wick, Fulwell, Hampton Hill, Barnes, Kew, Mortlake and Ham will also have their town centres protected.
If confirmed by the secretary of state, the Direction will come into force next year on 31 July 2022.
The Council is seeking feedback from residents on the use of the Direction and the deadline for representations is 24 September 2021.
Comments can be made via email, post or hand delivery, and should include your full name and postal address.
Email [email protected], or send letters by post or hand delivery to Planning Policy and Design, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham TW1 3BZ.
Responding to the news, Councillor Julia Neden-Watts, the Chair of Richmond’s Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee, said: “Businesses in the borough’s town centres, high streets and local centres are working hard to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Government’s new Permitted Development Right undermines this recovery. If shops and services give way to higher value residential use, the effect will be very damaging to communities.
“The COVID pandemic has brought the importance of our local centres and parades to the forefront.
"Providing top-up shopping and services to meet local residents’ needs also supports the aims of our Climate Emergency Strategy as it enables people to ‘live locally’; residents can walk and cycle to nearby shops and services and thereby lead active and healthier lifestyles.
"Our consultations show that the borough’s centres and parades are very much valued by those who use them.
“Without planning oversight, the Council will be unable to consider the impact of development on the high street, nor to ensure that social infrastructure and support services are sufficient to cope with an increase in people living in an area, or that new housing does not negatively impact the local area or existing communities.
“I’m pleased that Richmond Council has made an Article 4 Direction to protect vitally important town centres and parades in the borough and help to keep our local businesses and shops at the heart of our communities.”
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