Robert Jenrick is facing growing opposition from high street businesses over plans to allow town centres to convert to housing without planning.

Business organisations representing 27 different professions and traders have written to the housing secretary urging him to reconsider the policy.

The government is consulting on plans to extend permitted development rights to enable shops, restaurants, gyms and other business premises in town centres to be converted into housing without approval by the local planning authority.

The letter states that this “risks putting the long-term health of our town centres at risk for the sake of a short-term stimulus”.