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Hackney to protect launderettes

Words: Laura Edgar

The London Borough of Hackney has issued an Article 4 Direction that aims to stop private developers changing businesses, warehouses and launderettes into unaffordable homes.

The new planning rules will see developers have to apply for planning permission – rather than use permitted development rights – to change the use of the borough’s start-up light industrial businesses such as small breweries, and its 14 remaining launderettes.

The direction, approved by the council earlier this week (27 March), removes permitted development rights from such premises in the borough.

The council said the measures recognise the important role launderettes play for local communities, used by residents on low incomes, those living in temporary accommodation or small bedsits, and students studying in the area.

Additionally, they will help retain new and established businesses.

Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for planning, business and investment, said: “When the government introduced permitted development rights, they opened the door for private developers to change the use of buildings in our borough, without seeking planning permission first, from valuable employment space for businesses into homes for private rent or sale. A short-sighted policy imposed on our local community and its economy.”

By introducing Article 4 Directions, he said the council made sure it has taken the lead in responding to approaches by ensuring that planning permission is required to change the use of employment space in the borough.

The measures are open for consultation to all residents and businesses before they are implemented. They will be effective 12 months after the notice of the decision is formally given and will be reviewed after three years.

Two boroughs in the capital have issued Article 4 Directions to protect pubs.

Earlier this month, Southwark Council removed permitted development rights from all of its 188 pubs, while in August 2016, Wandsworth Council protected its 120 bars and taverns from development without planning permission.

Image credit | iStock