ONE of the county's MPs has praised proposals which could see major reforms to the planning system.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said the changes will help the economy bounce back after the coronavirus crisis.

Mrs Baldwin said: "One of the clear challenges that we face is how to help retailers to compete better with their online-only competitors and I welcome all initiatives to encourage more people onto the high streets again.

"I do worry that some business will find that they need to leave their high street presence so I welcome these important measures which will help change empty shops into homes."

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Under the new rules, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily.

New regulations will give greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to change use without planning permission and create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.

The Prime Minister has announced £5 billion to invest in Britain’s infrastructure, as part of the "New Deal for Britain".

The package of measures, including improving town centres, is designed to upgrade Britain’s infrastructure and skills to fuel economic recovery across the UK.