Councils are to be given new powers to turn derelict buildings into homes, ministers have announced.

According to the government’s plan, local authorities will be able to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to acquire derelict buildings and “attract new private investment” to redevelop them.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “As we build back better from the pandemic, we are transforming our high streets across the UK into the kind of vibrant places we will want to visit, work and call home for generations to come.

“This strategy sets out a vision for entrepreneurship to thrive, where local shops and businesses are supported with permanent al fresco dining, derelict eyesores transformed into quality homes and new hubs for business and entertainment encouraged.”

According to a report in The Architects’ Journal the new CPO powers will work alongside the government’s loosening of planning laws through changes to permitted development rights aimed at giving businesses more “freedom” to adapt.

The strategy allows offices, shops and other businesses to change use without needing planning permission. Another new permitted development allows vacant offices and residential blocks of flats to be demolished and replaced with new homes on brownfield land without planning permission.

Critics of the government’s plans to give councils new powers to turn derelict buildings into homes warn that high streets could be turned permanently into housing. They also highlight how the transformation of offices has led to the creation, in some cases, of very small units.

The government’s permitted development rights (PDR) rollout is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry which is due to report its findings later this summer.