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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.

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