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Council approves opportunities to develop vacant shops into homes

Tuesday 22 January

 

At Cabinet on 21st January the recommendation to adopt the Council’s Guide for Converting Shops to Residential dwellings was approved. The new Council planning policy aims to improve the standard of conversions across the District.  Residents have been concerned about the standard of some conversions.  The Council aims to ensure that any change of use from a shop to residential use is completed appropriately and to a high standard.

The guidance provides practical advice to developers who are considering converting a shop into a house or flat.

The Council is focussed on reducing the number of derelict and empty properties within the district, with a number of these being shops we are offering property owners the opportunity to approach us to discuss alternative options.

The Council’s focus is to ensure the retail offer is at the heart of our town centres, but this often leaves vacant shops on the periphery of our town centres that would be better utilised as residential properties.

Cllr Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council says “The Council is committed to town centre regeneration, the announcement of the proposed new leisure facilities in Kirkby demonstrates this. We are aware in areas such as Outram Street that there are a number of vacant shops away from the town centre that could benefit from this type of conversion. There have been several cases brought to our attention of shoddy conversions and this new planning policy puts in place the higher standard of conversion we expect.

This guidance provides us with the means to ensure that conversions to shops are carried out to a high specification. This is just one aspect of our ongoing town centre regeneration.”

Ashfield District Council will be writing to the owners of empty shops within the district to inform them of the new guidance and inviting them to contact the council to discuss in further detail.

The Council recognises the important role that the town centres and retail areas play in the district and is committed to town centre improvements, with planning policies in place that are designed to support and promote their growth through providing an appropriate mix of retail, commercial and leisure. This puts Ashfield at the front edge nationally in terms of issuing guidance. “