The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) has written to housing secretary Robert Jenrick warning against plans that could see town centre businesses premises converted into housing without approval by the local planning authority.
The trade association, as well as 26 other business organisations, is urging the government to scrap the new legislation, which it believes is detrimental to local businesses.
Gary Wroe, chair of the NAJ, signed the letter alongside representatives from other associations in the Independent Retailers Federation.
In the letter, Wroe said: “These plans are likely to put added pressure onto businesses up and down the British high street, where many NAJ members are based.
“Alongside others who also signed the letter, we greatly oppose the proposals and will continue to lobby in unison.”
In an excerpt from the letter, seen by The Times, the signatories also said: “We welcome government recognition that our town centres must change, but an all-embracing permitted development right that allows most commercial buildings to be converted to housing risks putting the long-term health of our town centres at risk for the sake of a short-term stimulus.”