Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence from Nicholas Ducker & Co

Changer of User Legislation

Along with numerous other advisors to rental property I am becoming very concerned with the massive influx of Tesco/Sainsbury’s/Marks and Spencer convenience stores which tend to open at 7am until 11pm and are causing havoc with small local retailers within the areas of these stores.

I practice in Leicester and manage property on behalf of clients and can report that four tenants are shortly to have to give up their properties because of unfair competition from the large monopolistic retailers.

At present no Change of User is required when coming down the scale to Class A1 Retail, ie Class A2 (Financial Services), Class A3 (Restaurant) and Class A5 (Hot Food Take Away) can all be utilised by A1 retailers with or without planning consent and in the main in order to obtain their city centre sites, the large supermarket retailers are taking large space users which have become redundant, ie banks, building societies, etc and converting them to shops for their own occupation.

The only way that loval councils will be able to put a halt on their, “steam roller” activity is to make a change in the planning law whereby a planning consent will have to be granted if the accommodation is greater than 1,000 square feet. This would mean that local retailers could object to the planning applications and the local planning authorities could take this consideration when looking at whether or not to approve the consent.

If the growth with the major retailers looking for convenience stores in the city centre or the outskirts continues the city streets, town centres and outlying neighbourhood shopping centres will become decimated with the closure of local and smaller retailers which could hardly be a good thing for the country as a whole.

I would like to think that you will take these points into consideration and draft in legislation on this matter.

September 2011

Prepared 20th December 2011