The British Property Federation (BPF) has slammed the government’s proposals to allow for easier residential conversions on the high street.

The organisation is urging the government to “recognise the damaging impact uncontrolled conversions to residential could have on the future of our high street”.

The government’s consultation proposing a new Permitted Development Right (PDR), which would enable more commercial, business and service premises on high streets to be converted into residential without planning permission, ended last week.

The BPF has warned that the policy would “exacerbate the decline of our high streets, far outweighing any positive contribution to new housing supply”. The organisation is instead calling for an amendment to the National Planning Policy Framework “to create a strong presumption in favour of different changes of use”.

Ian Fletcher, director of real estate policy, British Property Federation, said: “New residential development will play a vital role in town centre recovery post-Covid but poorly-planned PDR homes will do more harm than good. It’ll result in quick delivery of new homes in a piecemeal approach, without taking into consideration what the entire high street requires to successfully serve the community.

“A holistic approach to a high street’s future will ensure new homes are planned for, to ensure the right balance is achieved between residential and the other offers – whether that be shops, gyms, restaurants, nurseries, soft play for kids and sports halls – so that every business and new home support one another, to create coherent and thriving neighbourhoods.

“This new PDR will take control away from local authorities at a time when our high street’s future depends more than ever on strong local leadership and vision.”