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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has today (25 May) axed the restrictive planning rules to help shop owners respond quickly to changing trends on the high street.

Shops will now be able to change to office space without the need for a full planning application.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “This fantastic news joins our £675 million Future High Streets Fund and our High Streets Task Force in ensuring our country’s high streets are fit to thrive not just now, but in the years to come.

“Giving greater certainty to property owners and the wider industry, it will also help businesses adjust to the changing needs of the consumer.”

The move builds upon changes to the law which allow business owners to change the use of buildings from takeaways to new homes without undergoing a full planning application.

The changes also allow the temporary change of use from high street uses such shops, offices, and betting shops to certain community uses such as a library or public hall.

The government also made rights allowing larger home extensions permanent, following its introduction in 2013. This will help homeowners to extend their properties quickly and easily without the need for a full planning application.

Under the rules, homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to 6 metres for terraced or semi-detached homes, or 8 metres for detached homes.

Over 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under the previously temporary rules.