Hackney Council fight back to protect local businesses and launderettes

Hackney Laundrette. Pic: Gordon Joly

Yesterday, Hackney Council’s cabinet voted to prevent developers from converting shops and launderettes into homes, without first seeking permission. A new bill, passed by the government, entitled ‘Permitted Development Rights’ was greeted by opposition from local business owners.

The Council’s resistance to this legislation means the borough can get behind the development of Hackney’s small business industry.

Businesses like launderettes have become a vital part of the landscape of local communities. Research and feedback from local residents have shown the amount of reliance Hackney’s inhabitants have placed on the cleaning facilities. If the services were to be closed down, many people working in low-income jobs and living in temporary accommodation would have nowhere to go to wash their clothes.

According to the most recent 2016 statistics from the ‘National Association of the Launderette Industry’, there were 12,500 branches in Britain, by the end of the 1970s. That number has since dropped to 3,000 with only 450 in London. The exact number in Hackney is unknown but in the three years that have passed since the last study, the number will likely to have dwindled even further.

Councillor Guy Nicholson, the cabinet member for Planning, Business, and Investment, is very keen to help the people of the Borough by protecting industry: “The Council can’t control all development in the borough, but this will send a strong message that we will use the powers we have to protect and support Hackney’s thriving high streets and town centres”.

The new planning rules will be effective from 11 February

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