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Cabinet at Hackney backs Article 4 direction to cover key town centres

The Cabinet at Hackney Council has approved plans for an Article 4 Direction covering the borough’s key town and shopping centres.

A 21-day consultation will now be held on the proposed direction, which will apply to areas such as Dalston, Hackney Central, Stoke Newington and Hoxton.

It will also be applied to all shop types, from traditional high street retail, to financial and professional services, restaurants and cafés, leisure facilities, public houses and many others.

If implemented, a developer would need to submit a full planning application for a future change of use. Previously, a developer could change an office or shop into residential use without required planning permission from the local authority.

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The council will give 12 months’ notice before the scheme comes into effect in 2016.

The placing of the direction will help to protect the SMEs that make up 88% of Hackney’s businesses, "preventing the loss of essential shop and employment space across diverse, vibrant and growing town centres locations", the council argued.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Hackney’s high streets make a vital contribution to our local economy and to the vibrancy of the borough. They give character to the borough and increasingly are attracting visitors from far and wide.

“The Government’s proposals make it easier for developers to change the use of buildings on our high streets without seeking planning permission. Converting a high street building from high street uses to unaffordable housing will lead to the decline of our high streets. It is for this reason the council is implementing the Article 4 Directions to ensure that our town centres continue to thrive and prosper into the future as places where we can meet people and do business.

“At the same time we have also made sure that our wider local economy and Hackney’s business community is not threatened by the Government’s changes that also mean that developers can convert office spaces to residential. Following our campaign to be exempt in parts of the borough from these changes, another Article 4 Direction will expand these areas of exemption across the whole borough, helping to protect local businesses and jobs.”

More information on the proposals can be found here.


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