Home is... where the high street ke­bab shop used to be

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Paul Sinclair - By Harry Cole

‘Deeply un­pop­u­lar with lo­cal res­i­dents’

TAKE­AWAY own­ers are set to be given the right to con­vert their res­tau­rants into homes with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion in a bid to re­claim high streets from an un­prece­dented growth in fast-food shops.

In a move to rid town cen­tres south of the Bor­der of ‘noisy and smelly’ out­lets that are of­ten the scene of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, Min­is­ters are poised to re­lax strict plan­ning laws to turn them into res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties.

Any­one wish­ing to con­vert one of 56,638 hot take­away re­tail­ers such as chicken or ke­bab shops into a home must first ap­ply to the lo­cal coun­cil for com­plex and bu­reau­cratic ap­proval.

But now the High Streets Min­is­ter Jake Berry wants to dis­pense with per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment laws to bring the premises in line with of­fice build­ings and ware­houses.

And the rad­i­cal idea for Eng­land has the back­ing of the think-tank Pol­icy Ex­change, which says it will help to solve the hous­ing cri­sis.

It says take­aways could make far more money by con­vert­ing prop­er­ties and mov­ing busi­nesses out of town as more cus­tomers or­der take­aways on mo­bile phone apps.

The UK has seen a surge in new take­aways as tra­di­tional high street shops go un­der, with more than 4,000 open­ing since 2014. But they are deeply un­pop­u­lar with lo­cal res­i­dents who com­plain about odour and noise late into the night.

Lon­don has seen a 4 per cent in­crease in take­aways, ris­ing to 10,260, while Birm­ing­ham has seen an 18 per cent surge to 1,291.

Mr Berry is push­ing the idea to ‘in­ject the free mar­ket into high street re­newal’.

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