It has been reported that DCLG has abandoned its plans to allow shop shutters to be fitted without planning permission, with Ministers announcing a U-Turn on plans announced after the 2011 Riots that shops would be allowed to fit shutters without the need for planning consent.
Well known urbanist, urban designer, and place maker, David Cameron announced the plan last year when he told Parliament that planning rules make it difficult for shops to install protective shutters.
A consultation was launched, and CLG chief planner Steve Quartermain also wrote to local authorities asking them to prioritise applications for metal shutters.
Thankfully, during the consultation exercise organisations such as English Heritage said that this “knee-jerk” response could damage the appearance of high streets.
But a DCLG spokesman has now confirmed the plans have been dropped after the department concluded it would be a “disproportionate over-reaction”.
“Police and councils advised that relaxing these rules could have the opposite effect and increase crime and anti social behaviour by giving high streets the appearance of being under siege.
“Town centres should be attractive and family friendly places to visit and the current protections already available for shops offer more security and don’t require planning permission.”
Responses to the consultation said that shutters did not deter rioters and that other measures such as laminated glass are already possible without planning permission.
Thank God that eventually policy was finally based on evidence rather than prejudice, ignorance and spin. But did we really have to go through all of this work and uncertainty before we got there?
And, how does this fit with Eric Pickle’s document about Local Shopping Parades which talks about Local Authorities helping shop owners to work together to fit security shutters?
Local Planners should be going in the opposite direction and banning external, and solid, security shutters because, as the Police said, it makes a place took under siege.
And is there really such a bun shortage that every Greegs has to have external metal shutters fitted?