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News: 31 August 2021

You can rely on our commercial searches for potential high street homes

New rules making it easier for commercial buildings to be converted into residential homes have come in to force this month. As part of government plans designed to revitalise the UK’s beleaguered high streets, it’s now possible to transform an unused commercial building such as a former shop or café into a home without going through a lengthy planning application process first.

According to recent research from estate agents Keller Williams, the demise of the UK’s retail industry – speeded up by the pandemic - has left obsolete premises with the potential to provide nearly 25,000 homes to a market value of £7.4bn.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the new rules, which were announced in the spring but came into force on August 1st, would help support the creation of ‘much-needed homes’ while also revitalising England’s ‘cherished high streets and town centres.’

He predicts the move will encourage more people to live near local high streets and as a result come to the area for work and leisure, boosting town centres ‘in their rightful place at the heart of communities’.

The new rules mean homes would get the green light through a simple ‘prior approval’ process. Although there will still be rules in place to ensure new properties offer adequate natural light and meet strict space regulations.

Unused commercial buildings must have been vacant for three months before the date an application is lodged for change of use, and the rules apply to buildings of 1,500 square metres of floorspace or less.

While the relaxation of planning laws means less red tape when it comes to converting a property, a prudent approach is still crucial to your commercial property conveyancing obligations, which is where Thames Water Property Searches can help.

Our technology also makes ordering easy, by suggesting searches relevant to each commercial property. We’ll offer a flood search if the property is in a flood-prone area, for example and can even offer company searches when involved in commercial property transactions.

Rest assured that for all your commercial property search needs Thames Water Property Searches have got you covered.
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