Planning minister Keith Hill proposes bringing large retail mezzanines under planning control.

Planning minister Keith Hill is set to close a loophole in the planning system that allows retail developers to increase floor space by building mezzanine floors.

The ODPM said it is consulting on proposals to bring increases in retail floorspace of 200m2 and over under planning control.

It said that the lack of planning control over the installation of mezzanines, particularly in out-of-town locations was undermining the government’s aim of promoting the vitality and viability of town centres.

Hill said: “Warehouse-style retailers who increase their floorspace with mezzanine floors or basements can draw more trade away from town centres, where businesses cannot accommodate similar expansions.

“We don’t intend to halt mezzanine development, but to bring large increases in retail floorspaces under planning control to prevent inappropriate development.

The ODPM said that the proposed changes would only affect bigger out-of-town developments and would not prevent smaller town-centre businesses from expanding.