New planning measures to cut red tape and revitalise the high street have been welcomed by the retail industry.

Announced by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, the policy, which will come into force on October 1 2012, will allow more than one flat to be created above a shop without the need for planning permission.

He also proposed measures to simplify the planning system further by making it easier to temporarily re-use some buildings without needing planning permission, streamlining the paper work needed for applications and speeding up the appeal decisions.

When announcing the measures Pickles said: “These are common sense planning reforms that will deliver more affordable homes in areas where there are good transport links whilst ensuring better use of existing developed land. Cutting this red tape should be a shot in the arm for the high street increasing footfall and providing a boost to regeneration.”

The government also outlined a package of measures to help high streets reclaim their role at the heart of our communities. These include encouraging town centres to become Town Team partners to benefit from the support and advice available from the government and leading retail experts.

The Association of Convenience Stores welcomed the measures, stating they will “aid the regeneration of town centres by increasing the footfall on the high street and improving its vitality”.