Homes on our High Streets


Homes on our high streets

How to unlock residential developments on our high streets

15 Dec 2017
With the UK currently facing a severe housing crisis, it is important that we explore all options to increase housing supply. Given the changing nature of our town centres and the willingness of recent governments to amend planning policy, it is a logical extension to explore the role of space above shops for residential development.
This idea is not a new one and there are important lessons to learn from previous schemes and policies. There is significant untapped potential to create additional homes above shops, on or near the high street but key factors that need to be considered include:
  • Access to the building and servicing;
  • Compatibility between retail and residential needs;
  • Age and structure of the building;
  • Building Regulations;
  • Fragmented ownership;
  • Local community support; and
  • Local housing need and viability.
This report, commissioned by the Federation of Master Builders, underpinned by both quantitative and qualitative research, highlights the practical challenges and key considerations of residential redevelopment in six case study towns: Bishop’s Stortford, Bridgend, Castleford, Harrow, Motherwell and Stratford-upon-Avon. Exploring three levels of development activity (refurbishment, conversion, and extension/new build) across a range of building types, the report unpacks the key considerations for development for specific types of buildings within each town. This analysis indicates that there is the potential to bring forward additional residential units across a wide range of building types in differing urban settings.


Image credit: Colin Palmer Photography; (Alamy Stock Photo)