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Greg Clark reveals plans to boost ‘meanwhile uses’

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Planning minister Greg Clark has announced plans to scrap the red tape blocking organisations from converting empty properties into shops and community spaces

The mooted reform is part of a bid to encourage businesses and communities to attempt new ventures in existing empty buildings instead of having to navigate the planning system.

Clark said the government could remove existing rules which make such ventures go through costly and time consuming planning permission procedures to temporarily change the use of empty properties.

This could stimulate a major expansion of ‘meanwhile uses’ for empty buildings, which are a way of putting a vacant space back into good use for the benefit of businesses and communities while permanent tenants are found. This will provide more opportunities for entrepreneurs to start-up, reinvigorate local high streets and encourage community enterprises, it is claimed.

He said: ‘Removing bureaucratic barriers in the planning system could play a major part in encouraging meanwhile uses of empty buildings, transforming them into new shops, business start-ups and community projects.’

Long-term empty properties can lead to a spiral of decline, spoil high streets and attract anti-social behaviour, it has been claimed.

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