Article 4 Directions - Employment Areas

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In some parts of the District, national permitted development rights for changes of use to residential are withdrawn under Article 4 Directions.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

Further information on permitted development rights and Article 4 Directions can be found here -

Why is the Council proposing to use 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.

Authority's Monitoring Report 2016

Where are the proposed Article 4 Direction areas?

The Council has decided to use Article 4 directions to control changes of use to residential in the most strategically important employment locations in the District:

Local Businesses and Services

- District Local Plan Review (DLPR) Employment Area (EMP) 1 Coldharbour Lane (remaining)
- DLPR EMP 3 Southdown Industrial Estate
- DLPR EMP 8 Porters Wood/Soothouse Spring
- DLPR EMP 10 Alban Park
- DLPR EMP 12 Brick Knoll Park (part east of Ashley Road)
- DLPR EMP 15 North Orbital Trading Estate

Strategic Office Locations

- St Albans City station
- St Albans City core
- St Albans Abbey Station

See below for further details on each Direction including the maps of these areas.

How was the decision to introduce Article 4 Directions taken?

To introduce an Article 4 Direction the Council must follow a statutory procedure, which allows any interested party to make representations.  The Council considered the responses submitted during the consultation period. The Directions were confirmed on 22 September 2017. They take effect from 22 March 2018. The report on the Council's decision (including a table summarizing representations made), can be found in the document list below.

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 (DLPR)

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) -

Relevant paragraphs are: Paragraph 17, 21, 22, 23, 160 and 161.

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.

Economic Development and Employment Land Availability Assessment Technical Report 2016 -

The relevant part of the above report can be found at Section 4.8 from pg 212.

October 2016 Planning Policy Committee Report / Item 7 -
Employment Areas - Article 4 Direction - Report to Planning Policy Committee 11 October 2016 

Date of last review: 31 July 2017