Shutters go down on planning aid for retailers
Proposals to cut planning restrictions on shops installing security shutters in the wake of last year’s London riots have been rejected.
Ministers were reportedly considering scrapping the requirement for retailers to seek planning permission to install shutters, following last summer’s disorder which swept the English capital and other cities.
But a consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government concluded that it “would be a disproportionate over-reaction to the riots” for shops to be allowed to introduce the security measures without approval from planning authorities, the Grocer magazine reported.
Decision officer Maria Stasiak said local planning authorities and police forces were concerned that giving retailers in England and Wales a free rein to put up shutters could have a detrimental effect on town centres.
In a letter to planning officers, Ms Stasiak said shutters could create “an unwelcoming environment, which could increase the fear of crime, attract anti-social behaviour and graffiti and reduce footfall”.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) questioned whether local councils would now follow government guidance and cut red tape for businesses wanting to introduce shutters.
ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said: “This would require councils to be creative, talk to local retailers and respond to their needs. Not something they’re renowned for.”
There have been widespread calls for planning restrictions to be eased.
In one example, a marketing company from riot-hit Greens End in Woolwich, south-east London, planned new shutters featuring images of baby faces, but faced a three to six month wait for planning permission.
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