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Relaxation of planning rules provides ‘window of opportunity’ for high street restaurants

By Luke Nicholls , 06-Sep-2012
Last updated on 06-Sep-2012 at 14:29 GMT

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to announce a deregulation of planning laws which will allow businesses to extend their premises without the need for planning permission. 

Although details are yet to be fully announced, it is understood that businesses will be able to increase in size by up to 1,076 sq.ft without the often lengthy procedure of applying for permission to do so from the council. It is assumed this will apply to all high street locations for a limited time.

“Pub and restaurant owners should leap at the chance to enlarge the footprint of their buildings wherever possible - particularly in high value areas,” said Trevor Watson, director of valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons.

“We all know the difficulties that can be encountered when seeking to extend or alter properties, relaxation of controls is something that should be seized before this window of opportunity closes.  The long term benefit will be indisputable.”

Cutting bureaucracy

Cameron is set to present the raft of proposals relaxing planning laws later today (6 September). According to Government Online, Cameron will say: “We’re determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back.

“And that starts with getting the planners off our backs. Getting behind the businesses that have the ambition to expand, and meeting the aspirations of families that want to buy or improve a home.”

It comes at a time when the coalition, currently facing the threat of two years of minimal growth likely to shred its spending and deficit reduction plans, is casting around for ‘shock measures’ to boost growth.

Watson from Davis Coffer Lyons added: “From a business point of view, these changes should prove to be a significant fillip to development in the sector which will be very good news indeed. 

“From an environmental point of view, I am not sure that these proposed changes are such a good thing.  In the short term however, it is important that occupiers and investors in leisure property, take a close look at their physical assets and look to enhance value during this window of opportunity.”

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