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Article 4 directions – employment areas

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

In some parts of the District, national permitted development rights for changes of use to residential are withdrawn under Article 4 Directions. 

What is an Article 4 Direction?

National planning rules allow many changes of use as ‘Permitted Development’. A planning application is not required for permitted development. Where it has good reason, the Council has a local planning power - a Direction under Article 4 Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 - to remove permitted development rights.

Why has the Council used Article 4 Directions to control changes of use from Office/Light Industrial/Storage and Distribution to Residential?

Opportunities for local businesses to find suitable premises are being significantly reduced as a result of developers using permitted development rights to convert business premises to residential. More information on changes of use of business premises to residential is available in the Council’s monitoring report.

Where are the Article 4 Direction areas?

The Council has used Article 4 directions to control changes of use to residential in the most strategically important employment locations in the District. See below for further details on each Direction including maps of these areas.

What happens if an application is made for a change of use to residential in these Article 4 Direction Areas?

From 22 March 2018, planning applications for change of use to residential in the areas identified above will be required and will be considered against the following (Local) Development Plan policies:

St Albans City and District 1994 Local Plan Review)

Policy 19 Overall Employment Strategy, p47 (extracts)

(i) “Level of employment 
To provide sufficient land and floorspace to cater for full employment and provide for different kinds of employment use”

(ii) “Employment Areas
To encourage a range of employment uses in the areas defined in Policy 20”

(iv) “Expansion of Local Firms 
Account will be taken of the needs of local firms, though proposals should be consistent with other policies in the Plan”

Policy 20 Development in Employment Areas, p48-52

“Within the employment areas and employment development sites… [listed on pages 50-52 of the DLPR] other uses such as housing, leisure and shopping [are] not acceptable”.

Policy 23 Business Use Development, p54-57

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The effect of these policies is that in the areas covered by the new Article 4 directions priority will be given to retention of employment land and premises.