High Streets throughout the United Kingdom have evolved constantly over the centuries, in response to meeting the needs of living, working and shopping.
Policy makers in the last decade have been particularly concerned with the pace of change – the rise of online shopping, the popularity of out of town ‘sheds’ with good disabled access and the resultant decreasing footfall in the traditional High Street shopping areas.
Covid 19 has accelerated this change with the challenges of lockdown having dramatically increased online shopping and the need for social distancing for the foreseeable future.
It is recognised that many retail premises have converted, or are considering converting, to residential usage due to the lack of demand for retail space at applicable market rents.
The Friends of Lewes Planning Advice Notes set out key principles for maintaining the quality of design within the urban environment and offers them for use by local planning authorities, property owners, developers and architects.
In our Retail to Residential Planning Advice Note, 2021 [pdf 2.6MB] we consider a number of options when considering converting retail premises to residential use.