New rules allowing conversion of commercial premises, discretionary grant support and the new £50 note

We have a few updates for you about new rules allowing commercial premises to be converted into homes, discretionary grant support and the new £50 notes.

New rules allowing commercial premises to be converted into homes

Described as part of a package of measures to revitalise England’s high streets and town centres, the new rules, announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, will help support the creation of homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life – removing eyesores, transforming unused buildings and making the most of brownfield land. 

Allowing unused commercial buildings to be changed into homes is aimed at encouraging more people to live near local high streets and come to the area for work and leisure, helping cement our high streets and town centres at the heart of communities. 

The new homes will be delivered through a simpler ‘prior approval’ process instead of a full planning application and will be subject to high standards, ensuring they provide adequate natural light and meet space standards.  Today’s measures also introduces a new fast track for extending public service buildings.

New rules allow for bigger extensions to existing public buildings including schools, colleges, universities and hospitals.  This will help deliver more classrooms and hospital space by enabling them to extend further and faster, as we emerge from the pandemic. 

Currently, public buildings can have small extensions without the need for a full planning application. Today’s changes mean they would be able to extend further and faster, helping to quickly deliver more classrooms and hospital space.

Update on Discretionary Grant Support

BwD Council have been previously provided with funding from the Government to provide discretionary grants to businesses in sectors hit by the pandemic, but which don’t have a business rates account. 

To support the upcoming Restart grants which will be available in April, further funding is being provided, and the Council is currently evaluating what support can be provided for those businesses in the sectors supported by the Restart grants but which don’t pay business rates. 

You’ll also find information at:

New £50 note

A new £50 note will be issued on 23 June 2021.  The Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey has unveiled the design of the new polymer £50 note featuring the scientist Alan Turing.  Key points to bnote:

•       It’s polymer, just like the £5, £10 and £20 notes.  

•       It contains sophisticated security features 

•       It incorporates two see-through windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit.

•       There’s a metallic hologram which changes between the word ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.

•       These security features are common across all our polymer banknotes, so if you can check one, you can check them all.

•       In preparation for the new £50 being issued on 23 June 2021, cash-handling businesses should take the following simple steps:

  • Speak to your suppliers to check that your banknote machines (eg: self-service checkouts, point-of-sale banknote authenticators, back office banknote authenticators/note counters) are updated and are ready for the new £50.
  • Make sure that all your staff who handle cash are aware and know what to expect on 23 June 2021. Go to for free training and educational materials.

•       Even after the new polymer £50 note has been issued on 23 June 2021, you should continue to accept the paper £50 note. The public can still use paper £50 notes as usual and these will be gradually withdrawn as they get deposited into banks by retailers and the public. The Bank of England will give six  months’ notice ahead of legal tender status of the paper £50 being withdrawn.

•       You can also continue to use paper £20 notes as usual. 

Any questions you can send an email to:

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