New measures to protect local shops and launderettes in Hackney

Local shops and launderettes will be protected from unchecked development in areas facing rapid change under a new Hackney Council intervention.

Recent Government rule changes – called permitted development rights – mean that developers can bypass the Council, residents and local businesses and convert shops and launderettes into homes without needing to apply for planning permission.

Proposals agreed by the Council’s Cabinet last night will stop these rules being applied in areas of the borough facing the biggest pressures from development in our town centres – from Dalston to Chatsworth Road and Shoreditch to Stamford Hill.

The new measures mean that the Council can throw its weight behind keeping a range of diverse shops and businesses on all of Hackney’s high streets that provide services which the borough’s communities value and rely on.

As well as Dalston and Hackney Central, the measures will help protect the borough's smaller shopping centres such as Dunsmure Road, Oldhill Street, Green Lanes, Hackney Downs and Clapton. Research and feedback from residents has shown that launderettes have an important role supporting residents living in the borough – particularly those on low incomes or living in temporary accommodation.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment
By removing the Government’s short-sighted permitted development rights that allow landlords and developers to ignore local need and demand, these measures give residents and the Council a say on what happens to the business spaces along the borough’s high streets – going a long way to protect local services that are valued by residents and visitors alike.

Everyone knows that here is a huge demand for more homes in the borough, but residents have also said that their town centres really matter. The Government's rules don't even require a landlord to provide any genuinely affordable homes and ministers clearly think that thriving town centres are created by pushing out local businesses.

The Council can’t control all development in the borough, but this will send a strong message that we will use the powers we have to protect and support Hackney's thriving high streets and town centres.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment

While some local changes are out of the Council’s control, it wants to make sure it is using every tool at its disposal to maximise the benefits of growth for local residents and achieve the objectives of Hackney’s communities – whether that’s having a say in what their town centre looks like in the future and what kind of buildings can be built or ensuring there is access to new jobs, education or arts and culture opportunities.

Last September, the Council launched the Dalston Conversation – a major initiative to provides residents, businesses and visitors with ways to talk about Dalston and what they love about the area, what they want to see improved and how they feel about the changes already happening. Residents in other areas facing major change will also be given the opportunity to have their say.

The new planning rules will come into force on 11 February. 

Find out more about the Dalston Conversation