SOUTHWARK BRING IN GREATER PROTECTION FOR FOUR OF ITS HIGH STREETS
Planning chiefs at Southwark Council have put the final seal of approval on a move to protect the vitality and vibrancy of four major shopping areas in the borough by using an Article 4 Direction.
Shops along Lordship Lane, Peckham Rye Lane, Walworth Road and Camberwell town centre have been highlighted as areas where the automatic permitted development rights (which were brought in by government) have been removed by an Article 4 direction. This means any proposed changes of use still have to go through the council’s planning procedures, and – if there are local objections – considered before a planning committee in public.
This means, for example, retail space such as a former bakery or butchers (classed as A1 use in planning terms) in the Article 4 areas, can’t automatically be turned into an A2 use like an estate agents or bank.
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “Our local high streets are vital parts of our communities and we want to help them thrive and keep the hustle and bustle that attracts shoppers to the area.”
When our high streets are dominated by other uses than shops then they can lose that vitality and sense of activity. By applying the Article 4 Direction on these specific areas we can gain back some of the control over the future of shops on these streets that the government has tried to remove. This will complement our work to make our high streets healthier to help tackle the growing obesity crisis in Southwark, and also crack down on payday lenders and bookies who suck money out of our borough and put nothing back into the local community.”
Whilst the Article 4 Direction doesn’t absolutely mean a premises won’t change use, it means planners will get to consider any applications and strengthens the Council to use its policies so an application can be refused. An application can be approved if the applicant can prove the premises have been rigorously marketed for at least 12 months.
Protection of active retail space has also been highlighted in the new Southwark Plan, which is currently out for consultation. (Source: Southwark council press release)