Save our shops: 422 Roman Road

Join our campaign to protect retail shops on Roman Road. Object to the unauthorised change of use at 422 Roman Road from prime A1 retail to an insurance office.

Roman Road Trust is objecting to the unauthorised change of use at  422 Roman Road. This A1 retail  shop has been turned into an insurance office without  planning permission. After we complained, the Council has made them apply so we have a chance to have our say now.

Help us object to ensure that the shops, cafes and restaurants we’d like to see on the Roman Road have a chance.

Please send email below to


Thank you.


To Planning

Ref: Planning application PA/14/02099 – 422 Roman Road

I wish to OBJECT to the retrospective application for change of use from A1 Retail to A2 Professional Services at 422 Roman Road.

The proposal would result in the loss of a retail unit on the Roman Road. This would have an unacceptable detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the designated Roman Road East District Town Centre and undermine the Council’s town centre hierarchy, contrary to the principles of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012), policy 2.15 of the London Plan (2011), policy SP01 of the Core Strategy (2010) and policy DM1 of the Managing Development Document (2013). These policies seek to safeguard and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres by protecting and promoting commercial uses, and place town centres at the heart of local communities. In particular, policy SP01(4) seeks to maintain, focus and increase the supply of retail floorspace in Roman Road.

This unit sits at one of the busiest stretches of the western part of the Roman Road East District Centre and, until the shop was converted, had been occupied by a successful and well-used newsagent and convenience store. There is no evidence that it cannot be let for retail use. In fact, the Roman Road Residents and Business Association is aware of several retail businesses that have tried to locate to the Roman Road but found it impossible to find units to let, demonstrating an unmet need for A1 Retail units on the Roman Road.

Its proposed use, as A2 Financial Services, would not serve the local population at all, as the business currently occupying it appears to be using it simply as office space. Furthermore, the recent Roman Road Town Centre Audit commissioned by Tower Hamlets Council identified that 17% of units currently trading on the Roman Road are now A2 Professional Services, and that just 45% are A1 Retail units – not consistent with a vibrant commercial high street. The loss of a further A1 unit to A2 should therefore be resisted.

On these grounds I therefore OBJECT to the application and request that you REFUSE it.

Update – 13 October 2014

Further to the Roman Road Resident and Business Association’s objection to the unauthorised use of 422 Roman Road as an office, the planning department has refused retrospection permission to change the unit to A2. This means that, thanks to the RBA, one more retail unit has been saved on Roman Road. 

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