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Article 4 Direction: Office to Residential

The Article 4 direction requiring planning permission to convert offices and certain industrial premises to residential use in parts of the District has been confirmed. It will come into effect on 20 June 2020.

Article 4 Directions are one of the tools available to local planning authorities in responding to the particular needs of their areas. They do this by allowing authorities to withdraw the ‘permitted development’ rights that would otherwise apply by virtue of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (the ‘GPDO’).

Permitted Development is development which is allowed to take place without the need to apply to the District Council for planning permission. Permitted Development is effectively granted planning permission nationally by the Secretary of State by Order.

New rights were introduced in 2013 that allowed the change of use of office buildings to residential use. The change of light industrial uses of up to 500m2 to residential use was introduced in 2016. These changes of use take place through the prior approval process.

The prior approval process can lead to the displacement of existing businesses. As such the Council consider that proposals to convert commercial premises into housing should require the submission of a planning application at certain sites in the district.

Consultation took place on a non-immediate Article 4 Direction in June and July 2019.  The decision to confirm the Article 4 Direction was published on 28 February 2020.  A copy of the Article 4 Direction and maps of the affected areas can be viewed below.