Search

Relaxing planning rules so shops can become homes could kill off Hampstead High Street

17:00 07 February 2013

Hampstead High Street

Hampstead High Street

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Government proposals to allow shops to be converted into expensive housing could spell the death of Hampstead High Street, Camden’s finance chief has warned.

The plans to relax planning laws would trigger a “bonanza” of property development in the village as shop landlords seek to cash in on the lucrative house prices in the area, claims Cllr Theo Blackwell.

Conservation and business groups have been mustering to protect the village, applying for powers under the Localism Act to control development in the area, including shaping the high street. But if changes to permitted development rights are given the green light, property owners will be able to convert offices into homes without the consent of Camden Council or the new resident-led neighbourhood forums.

“It could potentially spell the end of the high street,” said Cllr Blackwell, who wrote to business leaders in Hampstead on Tuesday to inform them of the threat. “We will obviously support them (business groups) as this is a major shift in planning laws.

“It’s for a three-year period so there will be an absolute bonanza for property investors in Shanghai who are already buying up a lot of properties on the very stable property market.

“They are just sitting on a gold mine. “This (changing offices to residential use) will mean fewer and fewer jobs because of fewer shops in the area.”

Town hall officials have warned that the council will be powerless to guard against developments which could infringe on people’s privacy, ignore basic residential standards and create parking problems, according to papers seen by the Ham&High.

Andrew Lavery, of the NW3 Hampstead Business Association, said: “We would not be pleased if there was any radical change to the nature of the retail business in Hampstead without a detailed, full and proper consultation with all the interested parties.

“We would like to see greater improvement of the environment in the village, including making it more attractive to shoppers. But Hampstead is a very vibrant and profitable shopping area and we are not deteriorating by any means. Empty shop units only stay empty for a short while.”

The council can apply to the government for exemptions for specific areas. But these will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances and officials do not believe they will be able to make a convincing case for Hampstead should the plans be approved.

The government claims the plans will boost the economy by cutting red tape. The council is calling on people to write to Cllr Valerie Leach, cabinet member for growth, who is compiling a dossier of evidence to submit to the government.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

24 minutes ago
The handgun was found  in Eton Avenue, Belsize Park

Police are investigating after a handgun was found dumped in Eton Avenue in Belsize Park near several primary schools.

34 minutes ago
Muswell Hill library could be moved

Controversial plans to move Muswell Hill library out of its current site have been put in front of the public.

Sunday, May 29, 2016
The Hall school  triathlon team

A team of 40 mothers and staff from The Hall School, in Hampstead, are running the Blenheim Triathlon on June 4 to raise money for a Swiss Cottage youth project.

Sunday, May 29, 2016
The man was stabbed in Camden High Street near Greenland Street

A murder investigation has been launched after a man in his 30s died after being stabbed on Camden High Street in the early hours this morning.

Sunday, May 29, 2016
Chris Roche wants Muswell Hill Library to stay put. Photo: Polly Hancock

A renowned architect fears the historic library will be moved to the site of the former Green Man pub, rather than adapted for greater disability access

Friday, May 27, 2016
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk with customers and Ham&High reporter Emily Banks, right.       Picture: Polly Hancock

The vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk today thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Gabriella with mum Nazanin on her first birthday

A distraught father whose daughter faces her second birthday detained in Iran without her parents has urged children around the world to send her a birthday card.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Victor in Delhi

A ‘smart and popular’ 22-year-old who died in a motorbike crash has been remembered at his former school.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe