Back in July, government ministers announced they were going to look into relaxing planning permission on turning old, unused retail units into housing solution.

Now, planning minister Nick Boles is pushing for the change and says that people should stop trying to save some town centres, reports

Mr Boles argues that consumers shopping habits are changing, thanks to the rise of internet shopping and the changes in peoples lifestyles and working patterns. Instead of trying to save high streets that are a lost cause, the government should concentrate on being creative and turning old retail units into affordable housing instead, he says.

The UK is currently experiencing a housing shortage and there is a need for affordable housing in almost all town centres, so this change in policy should be beneficial to those searching for somewhere to live. In addition, it might also boost estate agency recruitment, which may mean towns see a jobs boost too.

According to, a consultation paper, which will come out this week, will suggest that councils concentrate on revitalising one or two key streets but the rest should be turned into housing. Farmers will also be allowed to turn their old agricultural buildings into housing too.

“We want to encourage local councils to concentrate retail activity into the prime shopping streets in the heart of their town centres and adopt a more relaxed approach to underused retail frontages,” Mr Boles said.