Tighter measures on housing conversions without planning permission to be introduced

Press ReleaseUpdated: 20 March 2024Planning

Measures that prevent business premises in town centres and employment spaces from being converted into housing without planning permission will be introduced.

Three Rivers District Council has agreement from the government to impose greater control on development in key shopping and employment areas  through an Article 4 Direction to nine locations in the district. This means that developers will have to apply for planning permission for change of use for planning officers to consider in line with planning policy.

Previously, developers could change premises classed under Class E (commercial, retail, offices and light industrial) to residential without the need for planning permission through permitted development rights, which is a fast-track checklist that the government introduced to speed up the planning process.

An Article 4 Direction will be implemented from Friday, 29 March. This will allow the council to assess planning applications in more detail and allow for planning gains, such as affordable housing and/or infrastructure contributions, which were not applicable under permitted development rights.

The Article 4 Direction will only apply to the following areas:

· Croxley Business Park

· Maple Cross/Maple Lodge Employment Area

· Tolpits Lane Employment Area

· Kings Langley

· Leavesden Park

· Rickmansworth Town Centre

· Chorleywood District Centre

· Abbots Langley District Centre

· South Oxhey District Centre

Marko Kalik, Head of Planning Policy and Conservation, said: “The district’s employment space and town centres are really important, and we need to ensure they have enough space for jobs and economic growth as the district continues to thrive economically. Having an Article 4 Direction will ensure the council has greater control over the designs of the conversions and will help deliver the right type of housing the district needs.”