The viability of businesses in the Shoreham area are being damaged by the conversion of business space into residential units, one business leader has warned.
Ron Crank, chief executive of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, has written an open letter to Anna Soubry, minister for small businesses, highlighting the effects of Permitted Developments Rights (PDRs) and calling for reform.
The Government policy enables a change of use of certain buildings without usual planning permission, such as turning business premises into residential housing.
The two areas he specifically highlighted were Crawley and the Shoreham area.
Mr Crank said: “This is a major issue across the Coast to Capital region and, I would imagine across the South East. The Government needs to reconsider this policy particularly in the south of the UK.”
He explained that the Shoreham Port Authority has been signalled out as an area where PDRs are affecting its sustainability to continue as a successful port operation, with around 20 small and medium enteprises (SMEs) in Maritime House Business Centre on the outskirts of the port facing the possibility of eviction from their premises to make way for the building to be redeveloped for local housing.
His letter concludes: “Most of the businesses affected are SMEs and struggle to relocate when displaced. Building homes in a business district is also unsuitable for many reasons, not least because some businesses will be unable to operate and grow in proximity to residential housing.”
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