Planning laws could be relaxed to allow retailers the ability to more easily offer ‘click and collect’ services to customers, says commercial property agent Prop-Search.
The Government is consulting on plans which would see retailers allowed to adapt existing premises to cater for ‘click and collect’ services without the need for planning permission. This move is designed to help retailers adapt to online shopping preferences and attract people back to the High Street.
Retailers are already able to reconfigure their car parks, provided that there are no planning conditions which specify parking numbers and layout. And under existing permitted development rights, retailers can already extend their shops and build small trolley stores within the curtilage of existing shops, subject to certain conditions and limitations. The Government now proposes to build on these permitted development rights and allow the erection of small, ancillary buildings which could facilitate ‘click and collect’ services.
Samantha Jones, an Associate Director at Prop-Search, said: “This proposal illustrates that the UK Government is starting to realise that the retail environment has been changed by online sales and that the planning legislation needs to adapt so that it still remains relevant and helps promote the stores of the future. Click and collect facilities are usually an addition to complement the most modern retail units and the more relaxed proposals seem to appreciate this.”
Under the plans proposed, buildings of up to four meters in height and spanning up to 20 sq m in floor space could be constructed as part of the retailers’ existing permitted development rights. A number of conditions would however apply, including that the buildings are not erected closer than two metres to a boundary of the curtilage of the shop or within five metres of the nearest highway. In addition, there would need to be a prior approval to consider design, siting and external appearance.
The Government has also said that it will allow retailers to make changes to their back of house loading bay capacity to cater for the additional demand from click and collect without the need for new planning consent, subject to a number of limitations. Under these plans, retailers will be permitted to install new loading bay doors and new loading ramps in existing shops, without the need for planning consent, provided that the exiting loading bay area does not increase by more than 20% in size.
Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01933 223300 / 01604 492000 or its website: www.prop-search.com