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06 May 2019

FSB member seeks answers on Permitted Development Rights in Hertfordshire

Local member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and MD of Auto Fix in Stevenage, Terry Gilbert, is wanting to know why there is nowhere to expand his business in Hertfordshire.

Mr Gilbert said: “We are looking to expand our business to other towns in or around Hertfordshire but there are no premises available. We would employ around another 30 people but all units are either not available or far too small for an auto repair business.”

Mr Gilbert continued: “There is also a problem with parking in Stevenage. There is not one all day public parking space, paid or free in the whole of Stevenage, where I am currently based.”

Pam Charman, FSB area leader for Hertfordshire said:  “The trend seems to be to grant permission to knock down pubs and other small commercial premises and put up houses. Not only are we losing great buildings and social meeting areas but also local employment opportunities. If we want Hertfordshire to be a place where local businesses thrive and people can find good jobs near to their homes, rather than by commuting to London, then we must stem the decline. Otherwise, Hertfordshire towns will become merely dormitories, with little sense of community and declining facilities. 

She continued: “One of the biggest drivers of this loss in Hertfordshire has been Permitted Development Rights (PDR), a national grant of planning permission which allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. This has been responsible for the vast majority of the increased rate of loss of commercial property to housing and it is having a very significant impact on the ability of businesses, such as Mr Gilbert’s to expand their businesses and supply local jobs and services to local people.”

FSB are calling on National Government to ensure that local planning authorities are allowed to deliver sustainable economic development by being able to plan adequately for employment. 

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