Changes of Use from Office / Light Industrial / Storage and Distribution to Residential – Non Immediate Article 4 Direction

We have introduced Article 4 directions with the purpose of restricting ‘permitted development rights’ which allow for offices, light industrial and storage or distribution buildings to be converted into housing accommodation without the express need for planning permission.  The changes were agreed by the council’s Executive in March 2019 and apply to our main employment sites.

The Government introduced additional permitted development rights in 2013 and 2016, initially for a temporary period only, to allow the conversion of offices and other commercial buildings into housing through a “prior approval” process.   Under the prior approval process, it is only necessary to show that a proposal is acceptable having regard to transport and highways, contamination risks, flood risk and noise impact and they are deemed then to have approval to convert the building. 

We are unable to consider other matters such as whether the site in an area protected for commercial activities, building is vacant, the standard of living accommodation or whether any affordable housing will be provided.  The prior approval process can lead to the displacement of existing businesses and the Council considers that proposals to convert commercial premises into housing should require the submission of a planning application.

The Article 4 directions will not take effect immediately but 12 months after the date on which it was made in April 2019.  This will allow for a period of public consultation to be undertaken and the need for any changes to be considered.


Response to this consultation closed on Friday 7 June 2019. Responses to this consultation can be viewed our Consultation Portal.

For other Article 4 directions such as those affecting conservation areas, please visit: Article 4 Directions