UK stifling property use

Julian Harris
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DEVELOPERS and landlords are trying to escape the economic slump through changes in the use of their properties, commercial law firm EMW has told City A.M.

“Change of use” applications shot up by 10 per cent in the third quarter of last year, and by nine per cent the previous quarter, its research shows.

Yet a complex and inflexible planning permission system is stunting their ability to react to changes in demand, an EMW spokesperson said.

Planning applications can be “lengthy and costly”, with red tape thwarting recovery in the UK’s property market, EMW planning specialist Giles Ferin explained.

“Unfortunately, the current planning system is overly complex,” he said. “Properties can lie vacant because their use is restricted to a certain type of activity.”

The measures stunt economic growth and can be a blight on local communities, the report said.

High restrictions on the use of property have led to shortages of space to let in central London, Ferin added.